Australian Sapphires begin U17 World Champs warm-up tour

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On a tour of China, the Australian Sapphires have played three games across three nights to kick off a series of warm-up matches ahead of the Under-17 World Championships in June.

Kicking off the tour with a game against an invitational USA team, the Sapphires held their own in a 52-72 loss.

The following night, Australia were once again in the contest against China before succumbing to the hosts, 70-71.

Ezi Magbegor paced the Sapphires with 12 points while her defence was highly impressive as she tallied four of the game’s six blocks.

Lara McSpadden (ten points) joined Magbegor in double-figure scoring and Lucy Cochrane also proved important on the rebounds while Jasmine Simmons (nine points), Samantha Simons (eight points) and Abby Cubillo (six points) all hit the scoreboard.

The third and final clash for the Sapphires in the opening leg of their tour was against an Under-19 Lithuanian side but despite the disadvantage in age, Australia were comfortable 74-61 victors.

Simmons (11 points, six rebounds) and Magbegor (11 points, four rebounds and two steals) again starred while Monique Conti (ten points, four steals) and Jazmin Shelley (11 points, three assists and four steals) impressed at both ends of the court.