GOLD MEDAL BECKONS FOR EMERGING OPALS AT 2017 WORLD UNI GAMES

GOLD MEDAL BECKONS FOR EMERGING OPALS AT 2017 WORLD UNI GAMES

The Emerging Opals have continued their dream run at the 2017 World University Games, defeating host nation Chinese Taipei 79-74 in a nail-biter to advance to the gold medal game on Monday night.

In front of a rabid crowd over 15,000, the teams went back and forth all night and neither side was able to gain any proper ascendancy right through the contest.

Australia held a slim one-point lead at three-quarter time and they traded baskets with their opposition through most of the fourth term as both teams showed impressive strokes offensively.

With three minutes remaining, Darcee Garbin drilled a massive three-pointer from the corner which was immediately followed by an Abbey Wehrung triple from the exact same spot.

Chinese Taipei answered with two baskets themselves but Alex Wilson hit an incredible runner to give the Emerging Opals a three-point edge with 1:50 left.

Australia then finally got a stop and gained some breathing room after Wehrung got a lay-up to fall before Chinese Taipei quickly cut it to a one-possession game again with 45 seconds to go.

Wehrung continued to attack the basket and was fouled, hitting two subsequent free-throws and with a score required, Chinese Taipei were forced into a tough shot by Wilson.

The ball then bounced around through several hands which suited the Emerging Opals as time ran out for the hosts while Australia advanced to the gold medal.

In similar fashion to their Quarter-Final, Australia fell behind early with Chinese Taipei starting the game on an 8-2 run.

Their running game was in full effect and the Emerging Opals only hit 3-11 in the first few minutes before Wehrung provided a spark, knocking down a three.

The contest followed a similar pattern as their Quarter-Final after that with Lauren Scherf and Garbin combining down low to tie things up at the first break with a combined 11 points and ten rebounds.

The Aussies were well aware of their advantage inside and Aimie Clydesdale's feeds gave them a slight buffer but Chinese Taipei did not let them get out of reach with their mid-range game keeping them in it.

Kristy Wallace's attacking drives was the cure at the other end although a late put-back from Chinese Taipei pushed the hosts ahead by four at half-time.

Starting the second half as she did the first, Wehrung (19 points on 7-7 shooting, three assists) hit a three to kick-start the Emerging Opals out of the main break while Garbin (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Scherf (21 points, 17 boards, two steals) notched their double-doubles.

They looked to match Chinese Taipei's running game as well, utilising Wallace (ten points, seven rebounds, three assists) in transition and halfway through the third the game was tied again, forcing a time-out from the hosts.

Wilson (nine points, six assists) then began to influence the contest, scoring a three-point play which she followed with a steal and score and dish inside to Scherf which gave Australia their biggest lead of the game.

However, the contest followed its script with Chinese Taipei again narrowing the deficit to just one at the final change to set up a thrilling finish.

Find all the stats here.

The Emerging Opals now await the result of the other Semi-Final between Japan and Russia to find out their opponent on Monday night in the gold medal game at 10pm AEST.

Stay tuned to Basketball Australia's social media channels for game-time reminders as well as a link to the live-stream courtesy of FISU.

The 2017 Emerging Boomers and Opals Schedule (all times AEST):

August 27: Emerging Boomers vs. Estonia at 5.00pm in 9-16 Classification
August 28: Emerging Opals vs. Japan/Russia at 10pm in the gold medal game
Emerging Boomers Classification
August 29: Emerging Boomers Classification