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Australian women continue world 3x3 domination ahead of World Cup
After claiming the first podium finish of the inaugural FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series in Chengdu, China last weekend, the Australian women have continued to dominate the shorter former of the game leading into the 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup later this month.
The victory was made even more monumental for the group as it was the first-ever FIBA 3x3 tournament dedicated to women specifically. Implemented by FIBA to offer a unique opportunity to new countries while also allowing the best players to prepare for not only the upcoming World Cup in Amsterdam, but for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, where the 3x3 format will be unveiled for the first time.
Eight teams comprising of Australia, China, France, Japan, Mongolia, Netherlands, Ukraine, and the USA all took part in this Women’s 3x3 Series opener, and it was the quartet from down under that dominated as they lifted their country to a best ever ranking of 21.
This green and gold pack are proving to be a real challenge for any opponent after finishing undefeated at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup Qualifiers in Puerto Rico and the recent FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha. With the win in Chengdu, they extended their winning streak to 12 in a row and they show no signs of slowing.
To take out a series win in Chengdu the girls really had to dig deep as a united team. First winning a 2-point game in the semi-finals against the Netherlands and a 3-point thriller in the pool stage versus France. In the final, they then took it to another level.
Alice Kunek was still excited about the experience after taking out MVP honours for the tournament as the leading scorer with 46 points, sinking eleven points alone in the final.
“It was such a great experience," anthused Kunek in speaking with The Pick and Roll.
"As a group, we played some great basketball and really backed each other, while also sticking to our strengths and playing tough team defence. It was such a great group to play with and they all made my job easier.
“We moved the ball well and had a great mix of inside and out. I feel very lucky to be a part of the team and also to be named MVP of the first ever World Women’s Series.”
Teammate Rebecca Cole, who was the MVP of the 3x3 Asia Cup, contributed as leader when it came to key assists and drives, scoring the winning basket in the final against rivals Japan. Madeleine Garrick and Hanna Zavecz also held their own, and took great pride in the exciting win.
“I really enjoy the new format," explained Zavecz. "I think it suits my style especially defensively. Although I was a little rusty on offense as it has been four years since I have been in any real pressure situation with basketball [since her final season in the WNBL], but I now head home and build on what I was able to build on in Chengdu. I really think I held up defensively and added to the team in that way."
The next stop on the 3x3 Womens Series circuit will take place in Turin, Italy on June 14-15 with the FIBA 3x3 World Cup tipping off only days later. While it is to be confirmed whether the Australians will be competing at the Turin event, yet no matter where they compete, they will be leaving everything they have out on the court as they take aim at a first ever 3x3 World Cup gold medal for the green and gold.