Head coach Dave Biwer’s squad were dominant in the knockout stage of the tournament, comfortably beating Romania, Japan and the Netherlands on their way to the tournament victory.
QUARTER-FINAL: Australia 21 – Romania 10
The result of the quarter-final against Romania was never in doubt, with the Australians racing out to an 8-1 lead in the first 3:05 of the game.
Bec Cole was a consistent offensive force for Biwer’s team, as the Romanian squad had no answers for her penetration and finishing ability in the paint.
Cole would lead all scorers with nine points, while Keely Froling had six, Maddie Garrick 3, and Alice Kunek 3.
Defensively, the Australian team throttled the opposition, holding Romania to 7-for-27 shooting, just 25.9 percent.
The win set up a rematch of the Tokyo WWS opener, with Japan in the way of a place in the final.
SEMI-FINAL: Australia 21 – Japan 14
The Australians led from start to finish against the host nation in pool play on Saturday, but a quick start from Japan promised to make things interesting in the semi-final.
Trailing 5-3, Garrick provided arguably the highlight of the game, dribbling the ball behind her back, before draining a tough step back jump shot from beyond the arc to tie the game with 7:20 left.
The move seemed to spark the Australians into action, as they never trailed after the Garrick brilliance, outscoring Japan 14-5 over the next 4:35.
Froling would hit the offensive glass to gather a Cole miss and finish the game with 20 seconds left on the clock, sealing the squads place in the final.
Kunek led all scorers with 10 points, Garrick added seven, Cole three and Froling came through with that game winning one point.
FINAL: Australia 21 – Netherlands 15
Biwer lamented his team’s “flat” effort against the Netherlands on Saturday, though the performance could hardly have been any better from the outset in the tournament final on Sunday.
The Australians raced out to a 6-2 lead in the game’s first 1:39, with Cole once again attacking with regularity to score three of those.
“[We] played more like a unit, the intensity was right where we expected,” Biwer said postgame.
“When you walk on the court with those two things plus the skill set these girls have, good things are going to happen.”
The Netherlands responded, bringing the deficit back to two points, before two baskets in 23 seconds to Kunek, including a two-point swish from the corner pushed the score to 13-8 with 5:59 left.
That Kunek burst seemed to spark the Australians, with the gold medal within their grasp.
Cole would once again take over offensively to ensure that gold did end up around her team’s neck, as she scored five of the eight points needed to secure the tournament win, including the game winning lay-up.
When you walk on the court with those two things plus the skill set these girls have - good things are going to happen!
Cole would lead all scorers with 10 points, Kunek had six, Garrick added three, and Froling chipped in with two.
Scores, schedule and stats: https://womensseries.fiba3x3.com