The Australian Under 19 Women’s basketball team, the Gems, suffered their first defeat at the 2007 FIBA World Championship in the Slovak Republic this morning, losing 64-57 to Serbia.
Although every Australian scored points, poor ball handling, particularly in the second half, proved decisive with the Gems committing 26 turnovers to Serbia’s 10 for the match.
The loss ends the Gems undefeated 5-and-0 start to the tournament and sets up a do-or-die quarter final clash with Spain, who finished the classification rounds with four wins and two losses, at 11:45pm AEST on Friday August 3.
Canberra Capital forward Abby Bishop scored 14 points to go with 9 rebounds to lead the Gems with South Australian centre Cayla Francis adding 9 points and 5 rebounds and Mackay’s Marianna Tolo tallying 7 points and 7 rebounds in support.
Jelena Milovanovic scored a game high 23 points to go with 9 rebounds to lead Serbia with Dragana Gobelijic adding 13 points.
The Gems surged to a 12-5 lead midway through the opening term but 9-2 run from Serbia saw them level the scores before two late Mia Newley free-throws gave the Aussies an 18-16 quarter time lead.
Six straight points from Bishop to open the second term put the Gems in front 24-18 and with across the board contributions, the Gems won the quarter 17-12 to hold a 35-28 half time lead.
The undefeated Serbian’s started the third term on a 10-2 and combined with the Gems increasing turnover rate and foul trouble for point guard Nicole Hunt, took the lead for the first time, 38-37.
Both sides traded baskets for the rest of the third quarter to leave the scores deadlocked at 45-all.
Serbia made all the running in the final term, opening with a 15-6 run to lead 60-51 and despite the gallant effort of the Gems, Serbia won the quarter 19-12 and the second half 36-22 to register a hard earned win.
There were no injuries to report.
SERBIA 64 - Milovanovic 23, Gobelijic 13, Ivanovic 10
AUSTRALIA 57 - Bishop 14, Francis 9, Tolo 7