An undermanned Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals side has fallen to Spain by just three points, 62-65, in their final warm-up game before the FIBA Women’s World Cup begins on September 22.
With Sami Whitcomb yet to join the team after winning the WNBA Championship with Seattle Storm and Jenna O’Hea, Liz Cambage and Alex Bunton resting, the Opals hit the court with only eight players.
That meant coach Sandy Brondello was able to share court time evenly among the team with everyone playing between 17 and 31 minutes.
Trailing by seven points at three-quarter time, the Opals were sparked by Alanna Smith (15 points, six rebounds) and Bec Allen (2-2 from beyond the arc in the term) who each had six points in the final period.
However, their charge fell just short against the FIBA World Cup hosts as they shot 32% from the field as a team overall.
Steph Talbot was one of the few efficient Aussies, recording ten points and six rebounds while Katie Ebzery and Tessa Lavey combined for 13 points and six assists.
Find the box score here.
The Opals will now face the USA in a closed pick-up game before their first official contest of the FIBA World Cup on September 22 against Nigeria.
Placed into Group B, the Aussies (ranked fourth in the world) will take on Nigeria (ranked 34th), Argentina (ranked 15th) and Turkey (ranked 7th) in the pool stage of the FIBA Women’s World Cup.
If they finish on top of Group B, Australia will automatically advance to the Quarter-Finals but a second or third-placed finish will see them placed into a Quarter-Final qualification game while the team that finishes fourth in the group will be knocked out.
FOX SPORTS Australia announced a landmark broadcast deal last year that included exclusive rights to the FIBA Women’s World Cup which means every game of the Chemist Warehouse Opals tournament will be shown live.
The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Schedule for the FIBA Women’s World Cup (all times AEST):
September 22: Australia vs. Nigeria at 8.30pm
September 23: Australia vs. Argentina at 8.00pm
September 25: Australia vs. Turkey at 8.30pm
September 26: Quarter-Final Qualifications
September 28: Quarter-Finals
September 29: Semi-Finals
September 30: Medal Games