The Australian Opals have claimed a back-to-back bronze medal at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup after a convincing 30 point defeat over Korea, on Sunday night.
The 88-58 victory felt like deja’vu, as Australia and Korea put on a 2019 bronze medal rematch to close out the Jordan campaign.
Rounding out an impressive week, Captain Sami Whitcomb overcame an ankle injury scare to play out the game, her leadership prominent in capturing the victory. Whitcomb’s 15 points- including four from the three-point line- nine rebounds and eight assists had her getting her whole team involved in the play.
Darcee Garbin (14pts, 4rbs, 2x3PT) elevated her game in attack while Keely Froling (10pts, 7rbs) was dominant at both ends of the court. Lauren Scherf (7rbs, 5ast, 3blks) and Zitina Aokuso (10pts, 7rbs) were both crucial in defence.
With their Captain arriving in Jordan 24 hours before the opening game, nine national team debutants and zero preparation, the Opals were excited to inject both youth and fresh faces into the team.
Up and comer Jade Melbourne continued to impress, hitting two from two 3 pointers while carrying herself with a contagious and exciting energy that had fans at home excited for the future of the national team.
A crazy Opals week🥉⬇️
• Captain @SamBam32 wraps up the WNBA season, jumps on a 12hr flight and lands in Jordan 24hrs before game 1.
• 5 games in 6 days.
• 9 National Team debutants.
• A team who had never played together.
Congratulations, Opals! 💚💛#FIBAAsiaCupWomen pic.twitter.com/XZ6PKK8axC
— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) October 3, 2021
“Our pace and our size were our advantages today and we really played on that as part of our game plan. The girls did a terrific job at the defensive end, in the last two games against Japan and now Korea we made a defensive statement in the scores we held those teams to, and we do a great job sharing the ball offensively, so I couldn’t be happier with the result.” Coach Paul Gorris said post-match.
Whitcomb expressed how proud she was of the team, after coming off a devastating loss only one night prior to the bronze medal win.
“It was a tough loss against Japan, and it’s easy in those moments to carry that in the next game but we didn’t come here to come this far, to lose in a medal game, so I was really proud of the response and the effort top to bottom, it was really fun to watch.”
Australia: 24 47 66 88
Korea: 22 32 44 58