Lauren Jackson farewelled the Australian Seven Consulting Opals with a player of the match performance and bronze medal win in front of a rapturous home crowd.
Australia secured bronze at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, with a 95-65 win over Canada at the Sydney Superdome today, in their first home World Cup since 1994.
Lauren Jackson wound back the clock with a monumental 30 points in the Opals’ win. The basketball legend was backed by Steph Talbot who had a staggering 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to finish as Australia’s most consistent performer of the tournament. Canada’s Kia Nurse started the game strongly, with 19 points by the half, but was kept scoreless in the second.
In the first half, the teams were exchanging buckets for buckets – keeping the stadium of supporters on their toes. In the second half, the Seven Consulting Opals continued to find Jackson on the inside, which successfully opened the game up for the Australians as they drew out the lead.
Canada put forward a valiant effort, but struggled to contain the Australians on their way to bronze medal finish in front of a home crowd.
Australian Head Coach Sandy Brondello was proud of her side.
“I’m very happy with this team,” Brondello said.
“We started this journey back in February and just got back to our true identity, and the girls bought in and just worked really, really hard and stayed together. Their resilience, their toughness, their togetherness it just made me really proud as a coach.”
On Jackson’s fantastic farewell, Brondello added, “She’s (Jackson) a really humble superstar, who goes out and scores 30 points? I’m really proud of her.”
Jackson reflected on her journey back to the green and gold and finishing her Opals journey with a bronze medal.
“This journey has been the most humbling but incredible 10 months of my life, and I said to Sandy after the game, thank you for selecting me because it’s given me the opportunity to play the sport I love in front of Australia again and to say goodbye this way is just magnificent, I couldn’t have imagined it,” said Jackson.
“When I came into the team, they had been doing a lot of work on the culture, they wanted to be feared, they wanted to be respected. I’ve never been on a team who have been so connected. I know that our Opals are in great hands moving forward. Those girls, every single one of them knows what it means to represent Australia, I just think it’s going to boom.”
Our 6th FIBA Women’s World Cup medal has been secured and we could not be more proud of this team!! 💛💚💛💚
WHAT A MOMENT!! #WeAreBasketball pic.twitter.com/gRT4yoFX4h
— Basketball Australia (@BasketballAus) October 1, 2022
Canadian Coach Victor Lapena was proud of his team and their efforts throughout the World Cup.
“I’m not sad or angry with my players, I am the total opposite,” said Lapena. “They did their best, they fought a lot, the whole time, but this time it was not possible to find a way to win or to find a way to compete.
“We did a great job, and we are the fourth best team in the world. Congratulations to Australia they were a great host of the World Cup.”
Nurse commented on the power of the tournament on the next generation of female basketballers.
“It’s really good for the game, it’s great for women’s basketball, it’s great to see all these young athletes and young fans and for them to be able to see what they can be,” said Nurse. “It’s powerful, that was the best part of the tournament, everybody in the crowd and how engaged they were, it’s great for the grassroots, and it’s great for the game.”