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Gems defeat Tahiti, will face New Zealand in Grand Final | FIBA Oceania U19 Championships for Women
The Australian U19 Gems are just 1 win away from qualifying for the FIBA U19 World Championships for Women after an impressive 122-13 win over Tahiti. They'll face an undefeated New Zealand squad in the Grand Final of the event.
Photo credit to Basketball Fiji
Australia opened the game looking to get the ball inside. Some great pick and roll action between Kristy Wallace and Lauren Scherf created some easy looks for the Gems, a tactic that will hopefully be used in abundance in the Grand Final.
The story of the 1st half, however, was the dominance of Alanna Smith and Demi Skinner - both of whom had 17 points apiece heading into the main break. Smith, in particular, was extremely active on the offensive glass - her activity was rewarded with easy looks under the rim.
As expected, Australia went into the half with a seemingly insurmountable lead - ahead of Tahiti 63-7.
The Gems continued to press incredibly high, keeping Tahiti way beyond the 3-point line. Tahiti wasn't able to get into any kind of offence and had to settle for deep contested 3-pointers.
Australia would run away with the win, the final score a staggering 122-13 victory.
Anneli Maley | Photo credit to Basketball Fiji
Anneli Maley proved her worth in this game, her ability to get rebounds and push the break will be extremely important as the Gems will look to use their athleticism to get easy baskets in transitions against New Zealand.
2 players that could have an effect in the Grand Final are 2 of the most junior members of the squad, Chantel Horvat and Ella Hellessey. Horvat has an extremely diverse game and, much like Maley, has the ability to run the break at an impressive rate for her size. Hellessey has shown throughout the tournament that she has a great touch around the rim, along with impressive hands. The Gems have looked for a lot of high-low action so Hellessey will look to take advantage of Alanna Smith and Lauren Scherf - both of whom are able and willing passers.
The Gems will face New Zealand in the grand final at 2pm (AEST), the winner qualifying for the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Russia next year.