Tenerife, Spain : The Australia Opals are headed to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup gold medal game against USA after they prevailed over Spain 72-66 on the back of a 22-8 final quarter.
The Opals are back to the Final for the first time in 12 years! Australia stunned the packed Santiago Martin Arena in Tenerife, with a 22-8 final quarter, led by Liz Cambage. Her second 30+ point game of the Championship was too much for Spain in the Semi-Finals.
Cambage finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks, being the most responsible for the fact that both Astou Ndour and Laura Nicholls fouled out of this one, and Laura Gil played on 4 fouls for a long time.
The only other Australian player in double figures was Katie Ebzery, with 10 points, almost surpassing her total of 11 points in the four games before the Semis. Spain got 17 points from Ndour, 15 from Alba Torrens.
“It was tough. We knew it was going to be a hard, hard 40 minutes going into this game and it was. They (Spain) are a group of superstars… (sighs) We just came up with it in the end. We played our hearts out and left it on the court. I’ve always said ‘screams from the haters got a nice ring to it.’ That’s the stuff that gets me going. I love it. I’ve so much respect for Spain. I love this city, I love this island, I love this country. They go hard for their country and I respect that.” – Liz Cambage said.
“(Final against USA) It’s another hard match after a hard match today. That is what these tournaments are about. Another group of all-stars with Team USA. It’s going to be another tough game but I think we can give it a red-hot go. I love my girl ‘BG’ (Brittney Griner). We hang out away from the game. People want to watch us play. I have so much respect for that girl. It’s going to be a tough one. This is what we dream about as little girls growing up – gold medals. America has a lot of them. We won our first (Women’s World Cup) in 2006 and we’re still chasing it again. I’m sick of bronze. I’ve got a few bronze medals and I’m sick of it. I want a gold one. I want a different medal so that’s what I’m chasing after.” – Liz Cambage added.
EARLIER : USA Beat Belgium, Make 11th Final FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup
USA are headed to another FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup title game after easing past Belgium 77-93 thanks in part to 26 points from Diana Taurasi.
The game was balanced nicely at 52-52 in the third period when USA pushed their foot on the gas with 11 of the next 12 points and it snapped the contest open. Belgium were always chasing after that point and never recovered.
Just 5 offensive rebounds in the entire game for Belgium and as a result, only one second chance basket.
Taurasi was too-hot-to handle and showed from the outset that she was in the mood – eventually dropping five triples. It underlines the notion that GOAT contenders graze on the last two days of major tournaments.
There was also a nice performance from Breanna Stewart who had 20 points and 7 rebounds. In defeat, Julie Allemand handed out 12 assists to add to her 13 in the Quarter-Finals, while Emma Meesseman racked up a sparkling 23 points.
Belgium picked up where they left off from their blistering Quarter-Finals display against France for the first 25 minutes. with their usual entertaining brand of basketball. However, a combination of them running out of steam and USA turning the screw and taking advantage was vital.
There is a sense of deja vu for Belgium who will now fight for 3rd place as they famously did last year at FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2017. As for USA, they look like they have found the higher gear everyone was looking for.
” You can tell that they (Belgium) played together for a long time. You make a mistake, they make you pay for it. We just got a couple of more stops, made a couple of more play on offense and our depth wore them down a little bit, but that’s a really, really good team, and that’s the bottom line.” – Diana Taurasi, USA said.