24/04/2024

The Opals following their 30 point victory over South Korea Photo: FIBA Women's Asia Cup Website

Australia has won its second consecutive bronze medal at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup, beating South Korea 88-58 in a dominant match, despite a heartbreaking loss to Japan last night.

Australia has won its second consecutive bronze medal at the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, beating South Korea 88-58 in a dominant match, despite a heartbreaking loss to Japan last night.

It was the Opals third straight podium finish at the Asia Cup, after first entering the tournament in 2017.

With the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup just around the corner in Australia, the Aussies exit the tournament in a stronger position than two months ago following their surprise early exit from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

https://twitter.com/fibasiacupwomen/status/1444637523137925124?s=20

The Australians got out to an early seven-point lead in the opening minutes, scoring 11 points to the Koreans four and they continued to build on that throughout the quarter until some sharp shooting from South Korea brought the side back to within two points at quarter time.

Much like the night before the Opals turned it on in the second quarter, with Samantha Whitcomb scoring nine of the Australian’s 23 points for the quarter.

Australia went into the halftime break with a 15 point lead, limiting South Korea to just 10 points for the quarter. Zitina Lusia Aokuso also shined in the first half for Australia scoring 10 points and taking seven rebounds with close to a double-double after just two quarters of play.

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Hyeyoon Bae opened the scoring in the second half for South Korea with a fadeaway jump shot, but it wasn’t long before Darcee Garbin got the ball rolling for the Australians with a three-pointer, this started an 11 point scoring run for the Opals, with Garbin scoring nine of the 11 points.

Korea managed to work its way back into the quarter, scoring a further 10 points but couldn’t keep the Australians quiet, putting on another seven points and going into the final quarter with a massive 22-point lead.

Heji An was the first to score in the final term, scoring a monster three-point shot in the first minute, followed by another three-pointer from Danbi Kim, beginning a 6-0 run to start the quarter but Lauren Nicholson returned fire moments later with a three-pointer keeping Australia 19 points in front.

It took over four minutes for South Korea to score again with Australia steadily growing its lead, limiting any scoring opportunities for South Korea with the tight man to man defence.

The Opals continued to dominate for the remainder of the quarter scoring 22 points to South Korea’s 14 in the final quarter, securing a thirty point victory for the Australians.

Samantha Whitcomb starred for the Opals Photo: FIBA Women’s Asia Cup – Website

Whitcomb was the best of the Australians, scoring 15 points for the match, coming away with nine rebounds and eight assists for the match, leading all three statistics across both teams.

The Australian is considered to be the favourite to win the tournament’s MVP but should she miss the Asia Cup’s top individual honour she is almost guaranteed a place on the All-Star team

Q1Q2Q3Q4Total
Australia2423192288
South Korea2210121458

In the Championship match, Japan defeated China 78-73 to secure its fifth consecutive title and Japan’s sixth title at the tournament.

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