With the 3×3 basketball event coming to an end, the Australian squad was able to claim their first ever medals, claiming the gold, two silver, and a bronze medal.
Bronze medal vs New Zealand
Out for revenge after losing the chance to play for gold, the Australian women’s 3×3 basketball team defeated New Zealand in a come from behind win to bring home bronze.
Challenged from the very start, the Aussies were no sure thing, with the Kiwis leading 7-3 by the four-minute mark. New Zealand worked hard on the offensive boards, with Kalani Purcell gunning for nearly every missed shot.
She had to, as the Kiwis wouldn’t hit a single long-range shot. On defence, Jillian Harmon picked up five rebounds for eight total.
Lauren Scherf tried to turn the game around with a big stop, but an immediate turnover nearly killed all momentum. She fouled soon after, with hope slipping away for the Aussies.
Ally Wilson came up big on the boards, and with Scherf and Marena Whittle hitting their shots, the tide began to turn.
Whittle hit the only two-point shot of the game soon after to bring the margin back to just one point off the back of pinpoint passing. Lauren Mansfield entered back into the game and made her presence immediately known, with a rebound and points within 30 seconds.
Sensing the medal in their sights, the Aussies made sure the ball was in Whittle’s hands as much as possible in the final two minutes.
She was the star of the show, clutching out the medal with a massive nine point, six rebound game.
Harmon was the best for the valiant Kiwis, with seven points and eight boards to her name.
Gold medal vs Canada
Australia has clinched the gold medal in a close game with Canada, winning 11-9, preventing the game to go into extra time.
Australia was able to grab more rebounds, winning the stat 18-14, which allowed it more opportunities to score and maintain its lead over Canada. Australia was able to turn its defence into offence, especially in crucial moments of the game, helping it shift the momentum in its favour.
Jake Kavanagh and Luke Pople showed their chemistry, taking turns assisting each other throughout the game. Pople led Australia in scoring, scoring six of its eleven points.
Although Canada scored efficiently in the one-point area, it struggled to move out to the perimeter and score from two-point range, something that Australia was able to do.
Canada’s turnovers occurred in costly moments and allowed Australia to gain momentum and score as a result of its mistakes, rewarding Australia’s defence.
Canada also got into foul trouble, allowing Australia to get to the line and slow the game down, making it hard for Canada to reduce the deficit.
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Gold medal vs Canada
Canada clinched the gold medal over Australia, winning 14-5, with a strong team performance.
The first five minutes of the game were very close and unpredictable, with the score 3-2 in Canada’s favour before it went on a six-zero run in four minutes, before scoring its last five points in the last minute of the game.
The Canadians’ defence altered the Aussies’ normal style of play, making them struggle to counter anything they threw at them.
Australia’s shooting suffered at the cost of Canada’s defence, only shooting 25 per cent from one point range in comparison to 53 per cent from Canada.
Australia struggled on the boards and limiting Canada to one shot, only grabbing 10 rebounds in comparison to Canada’s 21 rebounds.
Tamara Steeves starred for Canada, scoring four of its fourteen points along with her altering shot defence.
Steeves and Kady Dandeneau proved to be a strong combination, running plays where they would score and assist as a result of finding each other in their spots and making the most of their opportunities.
Hannah Dodd led Australia in points, scoring three of its five total points.
Australia lacked ball movement and assists and its scoring suffered as a result. Most of the Aussie’s scoring possessions came from isolating defenders and individually creating their points.
Canada had no problems moving the ball around, finishing the game with nine assists in comparison to Australia’s three.
Gold medal vs England
It was heartbreak for Australia as it went to England in the gold medal match, losing 17-16 in overtime.
It was noticeable that Australia learnt from its previous match against England. The Aussies kept the English out of the paint, forcing them to shoot jump shots rather than giving up easy drives to the basket.
The game went back and forth with each team going basket for basket. Neither was able to extend their lead with the other replying straight away.
In the pressure cooker of the gold medal match, both teams played physically on both sides of the ball, both not giving an inch.
In the last 30 seconds of regulation, both teams had chances to claim victory. Myles Hesson missed a one-point shot with five seconds left before Daniel Johnson put up a hail-mary two-point shot that hit the back of the rim, sending the game into overtime.
Overtime played out similarly to regulation, with both teams not allowing their opposition any space. Jesse Wagstaff scored the first point in overtime for Australia.
England looked to finish the game as quick as possible, with Jaydon Kayne Henry-McCalla and Orlan Jackman putting up two-point shots that missed.
Australian Daniel Johnson grabbed the defensive rebound and put up a contested two-pointer, despite his side only needing one point to secure the gold medal and win the game. The shot missed and the ball bounced off the backboard, into the hands of an open Hesson who put up the two-point shot, securing England the gold medal and one-point victory.
Australia dominated the rebound count 26-13, limiting England from getting second chance opportunities. But in the end, the Aussies turned the ball over in critical moments which hurt their opportunity to win the game. Australia turned the ball over 13 times compared to England’s three.
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