Opals culture shines through in win over Belgium
Cayla George becomes the latest Australian player to step up as the frontcourt exploits Emma Meesseman's absence
Since an opening night defeat to France, the Opals’ trajectory throughout the FIBA Women’s World Cup group stage had trended ever-upwards as they reeled off four consecutive victories, including a thrilling win over a previously undefeated Canada side that featured a 19-0 run to turn the game in Australia’s favour. However, all of those group stage wins and the memorable moments would mean little once the tournament concluded if they couldn’t get past Belgium in the quarter-finals and assure themselves of a spot in the medal rounds.
In the group stage, teams have some slight room to slip up, even if the Opals did put themselves on the back foot with an opening night defeat. Tonight, there would be no margin for error, even if Belgium would be missing an undeniable star of world basketball in Emma Meesseman. However, Meesseman’s absence was already known. But would Bec Allen suit up for the Opals after two games out with a rib injury, and if she did suit up, how many minutes would she play? Further, what effect would the presence or absence of both players have on the contest, and how would the Opals adapt?
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