Opals take out two game friendly series over Canada in NYC.

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The Opals completed their two practice matches against Canada this morning posting consecutive wins against FIBA’s fourth-ranked team.  The physical contests were hard fought with Australia winning the first 70-62 and the second game 59-50.

The team were missing key Opals players Whitcomb, Magbegor, Talbot and Wallace who were unavailable to play due to their WNBA schedules.

Head Coach Sandy Brondello had high praise for her team’s effort.

“These practice matches are critical for our preparation to go up against someone other than ourselves.  It was very physical, and we had to handle a lot of pressure which is great practice for the World Cup. We showed a lot of physical toughness and defensive intensity, offensively we turned the ball over too many times, we need to work on our chemistry.”

Best for Australia across the two games were George, Maley, Madgen and Tolo with Lauren Jackson equal highest point scorer in the second match.

Despite the intense interest in her comeback, Jackson was happy to just get the two games under her belt.

“It was great to be out there on the court, I can now say I have played 2 international matches in the past nine years, something I never thought I would say. I’m always hard on my own performances but I definitely contributed, and it felt incredible to test myself against some of the world’s best players. I’m a little more reliant on the after-game recovery than I used to be but the fire in the belly is still there, and my love of the game hasn’t diminished at all.”

The WNBL MVP Anneli Maley demonstrated that she has what it takes to compete on the international stage with a masterclass in rebounding.

“I love it out there, the physical contest is where I thrive, the harder the better I say. I always seem to end up on the floor a bit but that’s the game and the effort that you have to put in. Playing against Canada in New York, well that’s just a dream for me and the fact that I was competitive and held my own, I’ll take that.”

The Opals will remain in camp until Tuesday 2 August.

The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup tips off in Sydney on 22 September until 1 October.

Tickets are available here