Japan had previously pushed the Gliders in the first two match ups of the AOZ tournament and this game was no different. Teisha Shadwell started confidently nailing the foul line shot to kick off the Gliders offence, while Georgia Inglis collected six points early. Amber Merritt was subbed in and produced positive offence, with low pointers in Hannah Dodd and Ella Sabljak getting pick and roll opportunities.
Sabljak, Dodd and Sarah Vinci were providing some valuable baskets and at half time the Australians lead 25-18.
The Gliders women took control in the third quarter, coming out with better intensity across court with Merritt and Annabelle Lindsay dominating offence with positions inside. A strong 17-8 performance put the Gliders back in a positive position for a final quarter run.
Heading into the final quarter with only a two-point lead, the game was going down to the wire. The Gliders held firm and showed a gutsy side to their defensive that held them the lead. Merritt (18 points) and Lindsay (12 points) continued to dominate the scoreboard. It was a massive last quarter effort from the Australians securing their win at 49 -37.
Tokyo 2020 is now official for the Gliders, returning to the Paralympic Games and an opportunity for an AOZ gold medal tonight. You can watch the gold medal game live via the IWBF YouTube channel.