The Australian women have had a disappointing finish to an otherwise impressive tournament, having to settle for fourth place at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
They lost both games on the final day of competition, falling to China in an epic Semi-Final before France got the better of them in the bronze medal playoff.
Throughout the tournament, China had been utilising their big centre, Zhang, to their advantage under the rim and that was again their plan against Australia.
It worked early, giving them a 4-1 head start and foul trouble was also a concern for the Aussies as the deficit moved out to four points.
Bec Cole was able to get the scoreboard ticking over while Keely Froling’s defence on Zhang was exemplary and began to turn the tide.
Trailing by three inside the last two minutes, Alice Kunek drained a two and after forcing a steal, Cole got to the free-throw line to tie things up with 31 seconds to go.
Froling then had two massive blocks to deny China a game-winning shot and send the game into overtime.
After a tense few minutes, China’s advantage with Zhang eventually won out though as she scored their final two buckets for a 15-14 victory.
That set up a re-match against France for the bronze medal, the only team to get the better of Australia in the group stage earlier this week.
Things started well as Australia held their opponent scoreless for the first 1:55 and owned a 5-1 lead after Maddie Garrick drained a corner two.
France were able to find their rhythm after the slow start though and they turned the screws on Australia defensively, denying them any good looks at the ring.
After five minutes, France took the lead on a 7-2 run and never looked back, increasing the margin until the final siren for a 21-9 victory.
Australia’s results at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup (all times AEST):
June 19: Australian men def. Brazil 21-15
June 19: Australian men def. by Poland 14-16
June 20: Australian women def. Andorra 22-9
June 20: Australian women def. Switzerland 20-14
June 21: Australian men def. by Latvia 16-20
June 21: Australian men def. Japan 22-12
June 22: Australian women def. Japan 18-16 in OT
June 22: Australian women def. by France 16-17
June 23: Quarter-Final- Australian women def. Russia 19-12
June 23: Semi-Final- Australian women def. by China 14-15 in OT
June 24: Bronze medal- Australian women def. by France 9-21