The Australian men’s and women’s 3×3 teams have completed a perfect day at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup with the men advancing through the qualifying draw while the women swept their way into the Quarter-Finals.
Needing to traverse a qualifying stage before reaching the official competition, Australia took on Malaysia and Turkmenistan in the space of an hour for one of the coveted spots in Pool B.
Lucas Barker and Andrew Steel set the defensive tone for the team from the outset in their first game before they both knocked down three-pointers (which only count for two) to get them off and running at the offensive end.
Malaysia finally got on the board after two minutes but Darcy Harding answered with a shot from beyond the arc to give Australia a 6-3 lead and then they went inside with Steel utilising his size against the smaller opposition to connect on consecutive and-one plays to open up a 13-5 lead.
Harding subbed back on to score three quick points before Barker finished the game off with another long range bomb, winning 21-10.
Just half an hour later, the Aussies faced Turkmenistan, who were only sporting three players, and that lack of a substitution showed quickly as Australia’s activity made them look a step slow.
Harding hit from deep and then Barker hustled with a steal and block inside the first minute before Steel hit another from beyond the arc to push Australia ahead 7-0.
Owen Odigie then joined in on the act from long range, forcing Turkmenistan into a time-out as they trailed 2-10.
The minute’s break did not help them as Steel and Harding finished off a consummate performance with two more bombs to win 21-4 with still 3:30 left on the clock.
Watch the replay of both games via FIBA’s YouTube channel below.
The men will now head back on court at 5.50pm (against New Zealand) and 7.40pm AEDT (against Qatar) on Saturday and if they finish in the top two from that group, they will feature in the finals on Sunday evening.
The Aussie women were up against it from their opening game as they clashed with the number one seed in Kazakhstan.
However, Australia showed no signs of being overawed as Sarah McAppion and Carlie Smith connected from the field while Chantella Perera hit a free-throw to give them a 4-0 buffer.
Kazakhstan responded with the next three points, utilising their big centre but Australia remained fearless and continued to attack her when in possession with Perera giving them an 8-4 edge.
Smith’s hustle ensured Australia stayed on top in the physical contest as well before Perera’s strip set up Isabella Bourne for the and-one play, pushing the scoreline to 14-9.
McAppion then sealed the contest with another and-one inside the final 90 seconds with Perera putting the icing on the cake to move them ahead 21-14 on the buzzer.
Returning to the court just over an hour later, Australia faced Chinese Taipei but this time their obvious size advantage looked to give them an edge.
Chinese Taipei took it up to them in the opening minutes before Smith asserted herself with her ability to score inside and outside with a long-range bomb pushing the score to 7-5.
Bourne then increased Australia’s lead with an offensive put-back and a shot from beyond the arc in the corner gave the Aussies a 12-6 lead midway through the clash.
Bourne continued to hustle on the boards and if she couldn’t get the rebound herself, she was able to tip it out to Perera who then converted.
However, Chinese Taipei continued chipping away at the lead with a couple of two-pointers making it a 15-12 game with just over three minutes remaining.
Out of a time-out, the Aussies played the pick and roll to perfection, allowing Smith an easy lay-up and they then shut down Chinese Taipei, not allowing them to score for over two minutes.
That iced the game as Australian ran out 20-13 victors and saw them progress through to the finals on Sunday.
Watch the replay of their opening two games below.
The women have now earned a day’s rest before the Quarter-Final at 3pm AEDT on Sunday against an unknown opponent. The Semi-Finals then begin at 6.20pm