Lisa Mackie top-scored with 20 points, while Kim Perry finished with 14 points.
The first five minutes of the game saw some intense defensive pressure from both teams and multiple turnovers, before Japan finally scored the first basket of the game. Lisa Mackie answered quickly for Australia on a fast break and then Japan scored one of their trademark three pointers.
Both teams traded baskets for a while until the end of the quarter and the Pearls were up 14 to 10, with Lisa Mackie scoring 10 points and Kim Perry adding 4 points.
In the second half the Pearls shut down Japan, holding them to only 7 points. The Pearls’ 1-2-2 defence frustrated the free-flowing offence of the Japanese side, but they still managed to get the ball to their sharp-shooting guard, who was feeling it from range – she finished the game with eight tough 3 pointers, contributing 27 of Japan’s total score.
The height of the Pearls was certainly an advantage, playing a big role in the Australians’ offence. The depth of the Pearls’ bench was also a noticeable difference with all 10 players again contributing to this win. Despite Japan working hard and looking for their strengths, the Aussie were slowly building a handy lead.
The third and fourth quarters were close but the Pearls were able to extend their lead by five points each quarter to run away with the memorable win, clinching the Gold Medal for Australia.
After the game, Nicole Skerman was chaired through a guard of honour of the Pearls and Boomerangs as she announced her retirement from International competition. Nicole has represented Australia for over 14 years, selected to compete in every Pearls tour during that time. It is fitting that she was chosen as female captain of the entire Australia Global Games team this year as she has been an amazing ambassador for Australia and basketball.
The Pearls received their Gold Medals at the closing ceremony, with Lisa Mackie named Most Valuable Player for the Games – an amazing achievement.
Congratulations must go to AUSRAPID for the team’s overall performance at the Global Games. AUSRAPID Chair Wayne Bird and CEO Robyn Smith have done an incredible job in helping this group of young, talented Aussie athletes realise their dream of representing their country at these Games, and the athletes have responded, claiming 28 Gold Medals, 13 Silver Medals and 11 Bronze Medals, a tournament-best performance.