Day Three saw a mixed bag for the Australian 3×3 Basketball squad, with the men and men’s wheelchair teams seeing their first defeat of the tournament, while the women and women’s wheelchair team continued their dominance.
Vs Sri Lanka
In what was their final group game, the Australian women’s 3×3 basketball team thrashed a lowly Sri Lankan side to the tune of 21-2.
Scoring the maximum 21 points, the Australians have managed to score the maximum threshold three times in the tournament so far, the other two wins being against Scotland and Kenya.
Coming into the game, the Australian women were scoring an average of 21 points per game which is massive when compared to their opponent Sri Lanka who was averaging 6.5 points per game.
The Aussies were destructive with their efficiency, shooting 60 per cent (12/20) from one-point range compared to their opponents who were two from 11. The ability to also convert two-point shots amongst somewhat windy conditions helped with Australia shooting 18 per cent on two-point attempts, Marena Whittle made both two-point shots.
The Sri Lankans were seemingly overwhelmed by their opponents, giving away free throw attempts, with the Australians nailing all of them (five from five).
This coupled with the eight turnovers conceded in comparison to only two turnovers committed by Australia, as well as the rebounding ability of the Aussies (28 to 10) an issue for the Sinhalese. Every Australian had at least two offensive rebounds within the game.
The match overall can be summed up by the last play when with 30 seconds on the clock, the Australian women showed their ruthlessness by continuing to go for points to end the game rather than conserving energy in what would have been a win regardless.
Vs South Africa
The Australian women’s wheelchair team put on another dominant performance, smashing South Africa, 21-3.
Australia started the game off ruthlessly defensively denying South Africa any shot at the basket. The Aussies consistently held the rainbow nation to shooting at the end of the shot clock. South Africa put up its first shot attempt two minutes into the match.
Australian Amber Merritt put on a show, consistently getting to the basket. Midway through the match, Australia led South Africa comfortably, 10-1.
In combination with teammate Georgia Inglis, Merritt was able to utilise the pick and roll, consistently finding herself open as she rolled to the basketball. On several occasions, Merritt was able to draw contact and make it count at the free throw line, shooting two from three attempts at the charity stripe.
Inglis and Merritt were Australia’s best players.
Inglis finished the game with six points, three rebounds, and seven assists in seven minutes. While Merritt in almost seven minutes finished the game with 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists.
Australia finished the group stage on top of Group B and will go straight into the semi-final and play England tomorrow at 1:30 am AEST.
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Vs Northern Ireland
The contest between the Australian men’s wheelchair team and Northern Ireland was a must-win game for both sides, with a semi-finals spot on the line.
The first couple of minutes of the match were intense as both teams struggled to score early. Australia’s Lachlin Dalton struggled to find his shot, missing his first two one-point attempts.
Kurt Thomas was able to clean up Dalton’s misses, grabbing the offensive rebound and putting the shot back up, drawing a foul and making the free throw, scoring Australia’s first two points.
Northern Ireland was aggressive defensively, limiting Australia to long-range two-point shots that weren’t able to fall. Northern Ireland also forced several turnovers with the Aussies unable to handle the pressure with Conn Nagle and Nathan McCabe getting in the face of the Australians.
Australia struggled with its one-point shooting, shooting a miserable five out of 18 attempts. It also struggled to keep Conn Nagle and Nathan McCabe off the boards, as the pair grabbed three (one offensive and two defensive) and eight rebounds (three offensive and five defensive).
After its disappointing performance against Canada, losing 13 to five, Northern Ireland needed to defeat Australia by nine points or score 20 to make the semi-finals. James Macsorley, Nagle, and McCabe did everything they could to give themselves every chance of making the semi-finals, with Northern Ireland going on a four to zero run, extending its lead over Australia 10-4 with less than three minutes to go.
Australia made a late charge, reducing the margin to three points thanks to a Lachlin Dalton two-point shot and a Luke Pople one-point shot. However, Northern Ireland was able to hang on to defeat Australia, 11-9.
Despite finishing the group stage with the same amount of wins and total points as Northern Ireland, Australia has qualified for the semi-finals, finishing second in Group B, finishing with a better average of points (22 points compared to Northern Ireland’s 16 points).
Australia will face England in the semi-final for a spot in the gold medal match. The game will start at 5:30 am AEST.
The Australian men’s team suffered their first loss of the Commonwealth Games, going down to England, 17-12.
England started the game off with a bang, storming out to an early two-point lead before Tom Wright and Jesse Wagstaff levelled the score for Australia.
The English were able to use their size and strength to dominate the rebound count early and convert them into easy baskets. England’s athleticism proved too much for Australia, consistently making its way to the basket.
Greg Hire’s lower leg injury that he suffered in Australia’s last match against New Zealand meant the 34-year-old didn’t see any court time. The inability to rotate and sub players severely hurt Australia with Tom Wright, Daniel Johnson, and Jesse Wagstaff having to play the entire game and England took full advantage.
England got out to 11 to six lead but Australia never gave up, with Daniel Johnson hitting several crucial shots to keep Australia within touching distance. However, fatigue set in for Australia and England was able to run away with a 17-12 win.
Although Australia didn’t shoot poorly from one-point range (9/16), it struggled from outside, shooting one from seven attempts from two-point range. Losing the rebound count 21-11 also didn’t help, giving England several second opportunities to score.
Australia finishes the group stage, sitting second in Group B behind England and will face Kenya in the quarter-finals tomorrow at 2:00 am AEST. The winner of the quarter-final will face Scotland in the semi-finals at 4:30 am AEST.
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