Gems defeat Spain to earn bronze, Smith named to all-tournament team | FIBA U19 Women's World Championship
The Australian U19 Women's squad has ended their FIBA U19 Women's World Championship on a high, defeating Spain in impressive fashion to walk away with the bronze medal.
Alanna Smith put forward her best game of the tournament, posting 20 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks as the Gems came away with the 69-62 victory.
Along with having her best performance of the tournament, Smith was also named to the FIBA U19 Women's World Championship all-tournament team.
Australia began the game on a 9-2 run, led by five quick points by Alex Sharp, forcing a Spanish timeout. The Gems were clearly moving the ball with more fluidity on the offensive end, compared to yesterday's loss to Russia.
Alanna Smith rattled off 12 straight points midway through the quarter, with the Stanford signee dominating inside the paint.
The Gems would finish the quarter with a lot of confidence, leading 29-13.
Spain managed to pick up their defensive effort to start the second quarter, doing a much better job getting bodies on the Australian bigs. The Spanish guards also came out with a lot more aggression to start the quarter, getting some quick points on the board to cut the Gems' lead to 36-26 midway through the quarter.
Alicia Froling, playing in her final game for the Gems, was a big factor in the first half, hustling on the offensive end to give Australia second looks at the rim. It was Alanna Smith, however, who was the star, finishing the quarter with a left hook to bring her first half total to 16 points and 7 rebounds as the Gems entered the main break with a 43-33 advantage.
Spain opened the second half with an 11-4 run, led by star guard Angela Salvadores, cutting the Gems' lead to 47-44 midway through the period.
Tahlia Tupaea found Lauren Scherf underneath the basket for an easy basket, followed by a deep 3-pointer by the NSW guard, extending Australia's lead to 52-44, forcing a Spanish timeout.
However, the Gems weren't able to shake Spain, heading into the fourth quarter with a 57-48 lead.
A 4-0 run to open the fourth quarter saw Spain cut the Gems' lead to 57-52, but Alanna Smith responded with a layup to break Australia's shooting slump.
After missing some easy looks at the rim in previous possessions, Tupaea hit a big 3-pointer to give the Gems a 62-54 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Another 4-0 run from Spain saw them cut Australia's lead, but back-to-back buckets by Smith and Sharp, respectively, followed by two free throws from Tupaea, saw the Gems extend their lead to 68-60.
Australia would come away with the 69-62 victory over a resilient Spanish side, earning a bronze medal at the event.
Alex Sharp had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Gems, while Kristy Wallace finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds - playing all 40 minutes of the game.
The boxscore can be found here.
Australia finished the tournament with an impressive 6-1 record, with their only loss coming against a tough Russian side. Credit to Paul Gorris and his staff for a successful event.
Alanna Smith would finish the tournament as the Gems' leading scorer with 12.6 ppg (43.4% FG), while also posting 7 rpg and 2.7 bpg en route to all-tournament honours.
Kristy Wallace was arguably Australia's most impressive player throughout the tournament, finishing her final showing with the Gems with 10 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 3.6 apg. Her backcourt partner, Tahlia Tupaea, also put up some impressive numbers - 8.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 3.4 apg.
Alex Sharp impressed with 8.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg, while Lauren Scherf was a consistent force off the bench with 8 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 1.1 bpg.
The team at Pick and Roll would like to thank everyone who followed our coverage of this year’s FIBA U19 Women's World Championship. We look forward to continuing to bring you the best coverage of Aussie hoops.