The Gems have secured second place in Group C by defeating Korea 78-59 at the FIBA Under-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand. In a game that went back and forth in the first three quarters, Alexandra Fowler, Jaz Shelley and Isobel Anstey all finished the game with double-doubles.
Written by Oliver Kay.
After their win against Hungary on Sunday, the Gems looked to replicate that same success from the outset against Korea. Isobel Anstey was once again the focus of the Gem’s early offence, her size and soft-touch overwhelmed Korea in the opening minutes and it looked as though the scoreboard could get ugly.
Agnes Emma-Nnopu was fierce on the boards, and her three offensive rebounds were instrumental in fueling Australia’s hot start.
Australia’s three-point shooting made an early appearance, with Lily Scanlon and Jazmin Shelley hitting one each.
However, turnovers became a problem for the Gems early on and Korea was able to get their offence going with some nice three-point shooting and some crafty mid-range jump shots. The opening period ended with Australia comfortably leading, 22-15.
Things quickly took a turn for the worst for the Gems in what was a tough second quarter. Korea’s defence, which had allowed Australia to almost do what they wanted in the first quarter, was a totally different beast. The Koreans ratcheted the tempo up, with their backcourt putting tremendous pressure on Australia’s guards. They harassed the passing lanes and limited the Gems’ ability to get the ball inside to their tall scorers.
Some questionable passes from Australia did little to ease the pressure that Korea was placing them under. At the end of the first half, Australia had accumulated 18 turnovers to Korea’s four.
The Gems domination of the boards was their one saving grace. Led by Anstey, Shelley and Emma-Nnopu, Australia had 34 to Korea’s 12 at the half, and a 14-4 offensive rebounding advantage.
However, it wasn’t enough to keep Korea at bay. Korea outscored the Gems 15-7, and went into the second half narrowly leading, 30-29.
The second half began with a refocused Australia taking back the lead early with a lovely Scanlon layup. Yet it wasn’t long before turnovers again extinguished the momentum of the Gems, and Korea took the lead back moments later.
Australia began to refocus on getting the ball inside the paint to their bigs, and their hard work on the boards put huge pressure on Korea’s defence. Only four minutes into the quarter and Korea was over the foul limit.
From there, the Gems showed little mercy and continued to pressure Korea’s smaller interior defenders, getting to the free-throw line twelve times and making ten. Once again Alexandra Fowler took control of the game, finishing the quarter with 15 points, propelling Australia to a 52-45 lead going into the final break.
The final quarter was a formality. Although turnovers were an issue again (the team finished the game with 32), the Gems cruised to a comfortable win. Miela Goodchild (ten points), Isabelle Bourne (ten points), Anstey (12 points), and Shelley (eleven points) all joined Fowler in the double-digit points club.
Full box score here.
The Gems will now play either Japan, Columbia or Germany in the Round of 16 tomorrow.
Stay tuned to the Basketball Australia social channels for updates on the Gems’ next game.
The Australian Gems Schedule for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (all times AEST):
July 20: Gems def by. USA 79-56.
July 21: Gems def. Hungary 81-71.
July 23: Gems def. Korea 78-59.
July 24: Round of 16 TBA
July 26: Quarter-Finals
July 27: Semi-Finals
July 28: Medal Games