Emerging Opals claim fifth place at World University Games

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Australia have put behind them the disappointment of missing out on a medal by securing fifth place after holding off a comeback by the Czech Republic to prevail 56-51 at the 2015 World University Games.

Match report provided by The Pick and Roll.

Leading by as many as 16 points with less than five minutes remaining, Australia withstood an 11-0 run by their opponents to hold on for the five point win.

Stephanie Talbot was the lone Australian to reach double figures, providing a game-high 13 points with six rebounds while Tessa Lavey chipped in with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists. In finishing fifth, the Emerging Opals’ only loss for the tournament was against Japan who played off for bronze.

In a tough, tight affair, both sides traded baskets to open the game. Lauren Scherf was able to influence the contest however the Czech’s soon managed to edge away by as many as six points.

Olivia Thompson and Talbot both scored late to narrow the margin to just two points at quarter time (14-16).

Playing inspired defense, the Emerging Opals made their run to open the second period. Carley Mijovic (eight points, four rebounds, four steals) set the tone defensively with two early steals and a basket with Talbot and Thompson then helping put Australia back in front.

To close out the half on a high, Australia strung together 12 unanswered points, six from Darcee Garbin. The UniRoos held the Czech’s to just six points for the period in creating a 32-20 half time lead.

The Czech Republic fight-back would have been expected, returning the contest to the dour struggle that was evident in the first quarter but although they were playing well, they were unable to make inroads into the Australian lead.

When the Czech coach received a technical after Thompson drew a foul, Australia turned the situation into a five-point play, ensuring they entered the final quarter with a 14-point lead (50-36).

After three minutes into the fourth term with neither team able to land a blow, it was the Czech’s who struck first.

Australia were leading by 16 points when Alice Kunek scored her first and only basket of the game with 4:49 remaining, however that would be their last score for the game. The UniRoos shooting went cold but they were able to hang on for the victory.

Australia’s hot shooting throughout the tournament from long-range was dampened by the Czech Republic, going only 1-10 from distance. The UniRoos had a clear advantage in the paint (47-32) but turned the ball over 24 times to the Czech’s 17.

While the team would be disappointed that they did not medal, they can take great heart from the way they ended the tournament with just a single loss to Japan.

5 July, defeated Uganda 128-31

6 July, defeated Brazil 85-40

7 July, defeated Chinese Taipei 77-62

9 July, Quarter Final: lost to Japan 71-83

11 July, Classification (5-8): defeated Hungary 75-58

12 July, Final Classification (5-6): defeated Czech Republic 56-51