The emerging Opals progress to quarterfinals of the 2015 World University Games undefeated, after withstanding a stern challenge from Chinese Taipei to prevail 77-62, behind an explosive performance from Opals guard Tessa Lavey.
Lavey was unstoppable this game, pouring in a game-high 28 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists in one of the performances of the tournament so far. Along with 12 points each from Olivia Thompson (9 rebounds) and Sara Blicavs (7 rebounds, 3 steals), Australia was able to secure the win behind commanding first and third quarters.
Lavey was a standout in the win against Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei proved a more difficult proposition that many may not have expected. However head coach Brendan Joyce was pleased with his sides' effort.
"I’m really pleased with how we fought out the game for four quarters against a team that was a difficult match-up," shared Joyce after the game.
"Aimie Clydesdale, Sara Blicavs and Olivia Thompson continued their consistent form from our earlier matches."
"Tessa Lavey had a consistent four-quarter performance that saw her control the tempo of the game and found open players, Blicavs and Thompson, for her best performance on tour."
The emerging Opals started positively, maintaining their terrific three-point shooting thanks to consecutive made attempts from Aimee Clydesdale to get their scoring underway. In fact, twelve of Australia's first 16 points for the quarter came from triples, with Alice Kunek and Lavey also joining in on the action. Lavey was instrumental in ensuring the UniRoos led 24-15 by the end of the period thanks to her 9 first quarter points.
Both teams found scoring difficult in the second term. Chinese Taipei managed to break through the stalemate first, and went on an 12-0 run that saw them take the lead, 27-26. Blicavs then stepped up to stop the run, scoring three straight baskets to put her side back ahead. A third three-pointer to Clydesdale and 2 made free throws to Thompson saw the Australians capture a narrow 3 point advantage at half time.
Australia's defensive intensity increased in the third period and it had an immediate impact, holding Chinese Taipei to just 6 points. Lavey, Thompson and Darcee Garbin ensured the scoreboard kept ticking over as the UniRoos increased their lead to 15 points on the back of a 20-6 quarter.
To their credit, Chinese Taipei refused to give up and continued to fight through to the end. They were superbly led by Chi-Fang Chang, who ended the game with 17 points. However they had no answer to Lavey who piled on a further 14 points in the final quarter to ensure the UniRoos maintained their 15 point margin, delivering a 77-62 win.
Clydesdale added 9 points (3/4 3PT) while Kunek and Garbin both had 7 points each. The emerging Opals were aided by a 46-29 rebounding advantage, including 15 offensive that was a key reason for 14 more shot attempts.
The UniRoos have a day off before their quarterfinal against Japan who managed to scrape through after accounting for Mexico by 4 points in their last group game.
5 July, defeated Uganda 128-31
6 July, defeated Brazil 85-40
7 July, defeated Chinese Taipei 77-62
9 July, Quarter Final: 9:30pm AEST vs Japan
11 July, Semi Finals
12 July, Medals
Eurosport Australia will be broadcasting all the action from the semi finals onwards via Foxtel in Australia.