The Australian U19 ‘Gems’ have opened up their FIBA Oceania U19 Championship campaign with a blowout victory over American Samoa – clicking on all cylinders to win 113-8.
The Gems shared the scoring load, with 8 different players scoring in double figures – Montana Farrah-Seaton and Alanna Smith leading the way with a game-high 18 apiece.
The 1st quarter was as expected, the Gems applying full-court pressure to stun the American Samoans. This tactic worked a treat with Australia scoring the game’s first 12 points. With American Samoa unable to get the ball up the floor, the only points they managed to score in the quarter was from the free-throw line – The Gems holding a demanding 36-2 lead at the end of the period.
The 2nd quarter saw more of the same from the Gems as they extended their lead – Ella Hellessey carrying the scoring load with 8 pts in the quarter. Technical issues with the scoreboard halted gameplay for a significant period of time but that wasn’t enough to cool down the Gems as they entered the main break with a 63-7 lead.
The Gems continued to shutdown the American Samoans, holding them to just 1 point in the 2nd half – ultimately finishing with a 113-8 victory. They will likely administer the same tactic when they face Papua New Guinea, who suffered a 50-point loss to Guam, in tomorrow’s action.
Rachel Antoniadou stuffed the stat-sheet with 11 pts, 10 asts and 5 stls while Anneli Maley continued her impressive form from the FIBA U17 World Championships earlier this year with 11 pts & 12 rbs.
Kristy Wallace has been impressive at Baylor University for the start of their season and was named as the captain of this Gems squad. She finished with an impressive 15 pts, 2 rbs & 2 asts.
The Gems managed to shoot an amazing 61% from the field and 38% from the 3-point line while holding American Samoa to just 7% from the field, allowing them to convert on just 2 field goals in the entire game.
Many have questioned how necessary these preliminary games are, with an Australia vs New Zealand final the likely outcome in both the Men’s and Women’s division. It’s important for these smaller nations to get involved with these tournaments in order to increase the exposure of the game in their respective countries.
At this point it seems as though it’s a forgone conclusion that these smaller nations will suffer huge losses to the ‘powerhouse’ countries, but in the long-term it’s what’s best for the development of basketball in their respective countries, and in the Oceania region.