Both the Australian women’s and men’s teams are on course to come away with medals at the 2019 World University Games in Napoli, Italy.
The Emerging Opals will take on the USA in the final after accounting for Portugal 56-49 in their semifinal overnight, while the Emerging Boomers advanced to the semifinals following their 73-64 win against Argentina in their quarter final.
As the defending champions, the Emerging Opals have progressed to the gold medal game undefeated, successfully navigating Finland, Canada and China in the group stage, before dispatching Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals and Portugal in the semifinals.
Portugal, who also progressed to the semifinals with an unblemished record, posed a new challenge for the UniRoos. The Australian’s struggled from behind the perimeter for the first three quarters, resulting in the Emerging Opals trailing by 4 heading into the last term.
Keely Froling (18 points and 3 assists) was doing a mountain of work in the paint alongside Ezi Magbegor (8 points and 3 assists) and Lauren Scherf (6 points and 13 rebounds). With Steph Reid stepping up to carve her way into the paint for 8 points, she helped erase Portugals 7 point lead.
Abbey Wehrung and Anneli Maley drained Australia’s first two three-pointers of the night in the final term to help spark an 11-2 run that put the UniRoos in front. Australia’s size and presence in the paint then wore through down the stretch, with the Emerging Opals sealing the 7 point win from the charity stripe and put them into the gold medal game where they will face arch rivals USA [Box Score].
The Emerging Boomers’ run to the medal rounds has not been as clean sailing, with the Aussie men dropping their tournament opener to Israel, However since that early setback, they closed out the group stage with convincing wins against Mexico and then the Czech Republic which set up their quarterfinal clash against Argentina.
Dejan Vasiljevic sparked the Emerging Boomers into action, scoring 7 of his side’s blistering 9-0 start to put Australia on the front foot early against the South Americans. Argentina fought back to close the margin, yet it was a brilliant 14-4 run in the third term that had the UniRoos leading by double digits heading into the final quarter.
Jack White (19 points and 4 rebounds), Vasiljevic (18 points) and Tanner Krebs (13 points) would come up with all the big plays down the stretch to thwart a final quarter challenge to register an important 9 point win, with the Ukraine their semifinal opponent [Box Score].
The Emerging Boomers’ semifinal against the Ukraine is scheduled for 11 July at 4:00am AEST, while the Emerging Opals playoff against the USA for gold on 12 July at 4:00am AEST, with both games broadcast live online via www.fisu.tv
2019 World Universiade Australian Schedule (all times AEST)
July 3: Emerging Opals def. Finland 68-51
July 5: Emerging Opals def. Canada 85-51
July 5: Emerging Boomers def. by Israel 64-92
July 5: Emerging Opals def. China 90-84
July 5: Emerging Boomers def. Mexico 105-62
July 7: Emerging Boomers def. Czech Republic 88-59
July 8: Quarter-Final- Emerging Opals def. Chinese Taipei 81-72
July 9: Quarter-Final- Emerging Boomers def. Argentina 73-64
July 9: Semi-Final- Emerging Opals def. by Portugal 56-49
July 10: Semi-Final- Emerging Boomers vs. Ukraine at 4:00am
July 11: Gold Medal Game- Emerging Opals vs. USA at 4:00am
July 12: Emerging Boomers’ medal game at 1:30am and 4:00am