The Emerging Opals rebounded from their narrow loss to Japan to overrun Hungary 75-58, securing the chance to play off for fifth at the 2015 World University Games.
Playing with renewed vigor, Australia were able to restrict Hungary's scoring opportunities while creating numerous chances of their own. The UniRoos shared the scoring load, boasting 5 players who scored in double digits, led by Alice Kunek with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Tessa Lavey continued her great tournament with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Stephanie Talbot added 12 points with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Aimee Clydesdale (3 steals) and Lauren Scherf (7 rebounds) both chimed in with 10 points each in the convincing win.
Lavey, Kunek and Talbot shone for Australia in their win over Hungary.
Kunek and Lavey got Australia off to the start they wanted, with Lavey delivering 8 of Australia's first 11 points. When Scherf hit the scoreboard for her first points, the UniRoos had opened up a handy 13-4 lead. Talbot made 6 points straight points for the Emerging Opals, helping her side to a 23-15 first quarter advantage. Defensively, the UniRoos were outstanding, generating 5 steals and forcing Hungary into 5 turnovers. They also owned the offensive rebounds, pulling down a staggering 11 for the period to enable easy second chance opportunities.
Hungary lifted in the second period to take the game right up to Australia, connecting on a barrage of unanswered three-pointers at the start of the quarter to steal the lead 24-23. Talbot and Sara Blicavs were able to step in to halt the run and put their team back in front. However Hungary hung tough, making a basket in the dying seconds to trail the UniRoos by just 1 at half time (32-33).
When they made the first shot of the period, Hungary again edged their noses in front. Yet this time Australia reeled off a devastating 14-0 run capped by a Kunek bomb from long-range to move ahead 47-34. Clydesdale was giving Hungary a headache, adding 9 points for the period as Australia took total control of the game on their way to a 55-43 lead heading into the final break.
Kunek landed two treys in scoring 8 straight points as part of 12-0 run that enabled Australia's lead to balloon out to as many as 25 points. From there, the UniRoos coasted to a comfortable 17 point victory and advanced to the playoff for fifth place.
Australia pulled down an astonishing 25 offensive boards for the game yet only won the rebound count 49-40. Their pressure shone through, forcing Hungary into twice as many turnovers (20-10) and generating 16 steals to 6, statistics likely to buoy head coach Brendan Joyce.
The Emerging Opals will conclude their World University Games campaign by taking on the Czech Republic in a playoff for fifth place on Sunday at 11:00am AEST. In progressing to the playoff for fifth, the Czech Republic were able to defeat Chinese Taipei by 7 points, a team the UniRoos defeated by 15 points earlier in the tournament.
5 July, defeated Uganda 128-31
6 July, defeated Brazil 85-40
7 July, defeated Chinese Taipei 77-62
9 July, Quarter Final: lost to Japan 71-83
11 July, Classification (5-8): defeated Hungary 75-58
12 July, Final Classification (5-6): 11:00am AEST vs Czech Republic
Eurosport Australia will be broadcasting all the action from the semi finals onwards via Foxtel in Australia.