The Australian Opals have taken the bronze medal in the women’s world basketball championship, defeating Turkey 74-44 victory in Istanbul today.
The Opals were missing key players Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage, but were too strong for Turkey in the play-off for third, having lost out by 12 points to the USA in the semi finals, their only defeat in six games. The US went on to take the gold medal, defeating Spain 77-64.
Australia was up 38-19 at half-time and then streaked further away in the third quarter to be 54-26 up, before coasting home, letting Turkey score nearly half their match points in the final quarter.
It was the 9th time the Australians featured on the podium in their past 10 tournaments, but this win was impressive because the squad included seven players making on debut at the world championships.
The pain of captain Penny Taylor missing out on the London Olympics through injury was offset when she was selected in FIBA Women’s World Championship’s All-Star Five. She starred against Turkey with 13 points and nine assists and finished the series with a 12-point average at 47%.
Marianna Tolo was the top-scorer with 21 points against Turkey, as well as being the Opals best for the tournament.
Coach Brendan Joyce was stoked, saying it was his proudest moment as the coach of the national team. It’s the Opals’ third bronze, alongside 1998 and 2002. They won the world championship in 2006 and with Jackson and Cambage set to return for the Rio Olympics, the Opals are looking good for 2016.
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