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Gems defeat Brazil to begin tournament 2-0 | FIBA U19 Women's World Championship
A dominant second half saw the Australian U19 Women's squad defeat Brazil to start the FIBA U19 Women's World Championship with a 2-0 record.
Lauren Scherf led the way with 12 points and 7 rebounds as the Gems recovered from a first half deficit to ultimately come away with a 62-48 victory over a seasoned Brazilian squad.
The Gems seemed rattled by Brazil's physicality to start the game, failing to convert on good looks around the rim. Kristy Wallace was active on both ends of the floor, but picked up two quick fouls that forced her to sit for the back-end of the quarter. The introduction of Lauren Scherf saw Australia pick up their game on both ends of the floor, but it was Brazil's Gabriele Guimaraes who was determined to force her way to the free-throw line, giving Brazil a 15-13 lead at the end of the period.
Some sloppy turnovers to start the second quarter saw Brazil get some easy points in transition. It was Anneli Maley's efforts that kept the Gems in the game, hustling on the offensive boards as Australia trailed 22-19 midway through the quarter. Alex Sharp made some impressive plays around the rim, but Brazil's seasoned guards kept up their aggression, holding Australia's star back court to just 2-of-15 from the field.
After some scrappiness on both ends, Brazil managed to hold a 28-23 lead heading into the main break. At the half, Maley had 4 points and 5 rebounds, while Scherf chipped in with 3 points and 6 rebounds.
The third period opened on a much better note for the Gems. Alanna Smith and Alex Sharp both converted on tough baskets in the paint - with Sharp's an and-one - to tie the game at 28-28, early in the quarter.
With the Gems already dominating the third quarter, they continued to push the ball, receiving some impressive play from Scherf and Tahlia Tupaea, who asserted themselves on the offensive end to give Australia the 44-39 lead by the end of the period.
Brazil opened the fourth period looking to trim Australia's lead, with youngster Lays Da Silva taking over the scoring for Brazil. However, the Gems wouldn't back down, with back-to-back baskets from Tupaea and Smith giving Australia a 50-44 lead, midway through the period.
The latter end of the fourth quarter featured a lot of scrappy play from both sides, with Australia continuing to slowly extend their lead. The Gems picked up their intensity on the defensive end, whilst also hitting their free throws - ultimately coming away with the 62-48 win.
Lauren Scherf had a game-high 12 points, along with 7 rebounds, while Alanna Smith posted 12 points and 6 rebounds before fouling out.
Tahlia Tupaea played a big role for the Gems in this game, making her impact known on both ends of the floor, with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
Watch a full replay of the game below. The boxscore can be found here.
The Gems have a day off before facing Korea in their final game of the group stages. That game tips off at 10:45pm (AEST) during Tuesday's action.