Australia's Emerging Opals have finished the Under 24 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo, Japan with a 2-1 record as they prepare for the World University Games that commences from 20 August 2017 in Chinese Taipei.
With Alanna Smith joining the Opals for the FIBA Asia Cup, and Tahlia Tupaea ruled out due to injury, the Adelaide Lightning's Chelsea Brook and Aimie Clydesdale were called up to the side. After a strong season with the Dandenong Rangers, Clydesdale original omission was curious, but now she has been included in the side to add depth and experience to the back court and was immediately inserted into the starting line-up.
The young side finished the tournament off on a high after dispatching Canada 79-52, with Darcee Garbin leading the way with a game-high 21 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. She received great support from Lauren Scherf who delivered 15 points and 10 rebounds with 3 steals, while Kristy Wallace chimed in with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals.
Winning every quarter, Australia were particularly dominant in the third term in which they held Canada to just 8 points while piling on 18 of their own.
In their opening loss to the USA, the Emerging Opals were undone thanks to a 12-23 third term, putting the game out of their reach in what was a very encouraging performance. Wallace contributed a team-high 11 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, while Abigail Wehrung chimed in with 10 points.
Against the hosts, Australia came back from a 7-point first quarter deficit and 3-point differential at the last break to earn a very good 9 point win. The undisputed star of the game was Garbin who went 3-of-4 from long distance on her way to a game-high 26 points and 10 rebound double-double. Wehrung was again impressive with 13 points and 3 assists, as Wallace dropped 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals.
With a gallant loss and two good wins against quality opponents, the Emerging Opals head to the World University Games better for the experience and brimming with confidence. They are grouped in Pool D with Lithuania, Argentina and Russia in what could arguably be the toughest pool. They open against Lithuania on 21 August, with their game at 10:00pm AEST.
World University Games Schedule: Emerging Opals (all times AEST)
Pool D August 21: Australia vs Lithuania at 10:00pm August 22: Australia vs Argentina at 7:30pm August 23: Australia vs Russia at 2:30pm August 25: Quarterfinals August 26: Semifinals August 28: Grand Final
Chelsea BROOK Aimie CLYDESDALE Keely FROLING Darcee GARBIN Megan MCKAY Vanessa PANOUSIS Lauren SCHERF Alex SHARP Carly TURNER Kristy WALLACE Abigail WEHRUNG Alex WILSON