Gems defeat Guam, will face Tahiti in semifinal | FIBA Oceania U19 Championships for Women

The Australian U19 Gems completed a clean sweep of Pool A of the FIBA Oceania U19 Championships, defeating Guam 131-9 to advance to the semi-finals.

Photo Credit to Basketball Fiji

Alanna Smith once again had a team-high in scoring, scoring a very efficient 22 points, while Chantel Horvat stuffed the stat-sheet - going for 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

Just like their 3 previous games, the Gems opened up the game with an aggressive full-court press. Taking advantage of Guam's lack of capable ball-handlers, The Gems forced 8 turnovers in the first quarter alone. After not allowing Guam to execute any kind of offence, Australia finished the 1st quarter with a 31-2 lead.

It seemed as though the Gems were making a conscious effort to get the ball inside, rarely settling for perimeter jump shots. Chantel Horvat proved to be a dynamic force off the bench early in the 2nd quarter, filling her stat line in a hurry.

After an unusually quiet 1st quarter, Tahlia Tupaea stepped up her game in the 2nd - scoring 8 points in a 50-second span later in the period, pushing the ball up the floor quickly for easy baskets. The Gems would head into the main break with a 67-4 lead, Demi Skinner with 11 points while Chantel Horvat had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

The level of consistency the Gems are playing with is a great sign, closing out the game in impressive fashion to pick up their 3rd 100-point victory of the group stages - the final score an amazing 131-9.

VIEW THE BOXSCORE

The Gems once again placed a big emphasis on 'team basketball', with 6 players finishing in double figures while 3 players finishing on 8 points, respectively. Their defensive intensity is also something that they're hoping to carry over into the finals games, doing an impressive job holding Guam's Destiny Rae Castro - who is the tournament's leading scorer on 22.5ppg - to 0 points on 0-for-15 FG%.

Photo Credit to Basketball Fiji

The return of Lauren Scherf was a welcome sign for the Gems entering the home-stretch of the tournaent. Scherf, who is one of the most senior members of this squad, sat out the first 3 games but didn't look out of place in her return - posting 12 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

In Pool B, the New Zealand Junior Tall Ferns ran away with 1st place, as expected - setting up the seemingly inevitable clash in the grand final against Australia.

VIDEO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItpQByUjIOw&


The Gems will face Tahiti in their semi-final fixture at 12pm (AEST) on Friday.