In a behind closed doors scrimmage, defending FIBA World Cup champions USA have edged the Opals in an unofficial 70-60 hard-fought contest in Tenerife, Spain.
According to the game report by USA Basketball, the Opals led 18-16 at the end of the first quarter before the Americans unleashed a 24-10 second term to take a commanding lead. Australia worked their way back into the game in the third period however, trailing by just 6 at the final break. The USA then finished strongly to win the term by 4 points and earn a 10 point victory.
Tina Charles added 15 points to lead the USA, while no stats were reported for Australia and no box score has been made available.
While the USA managed to register another win againstt he Opals, it is hard to read into the result given it was a behind-closed-doors practice game.
In speaking with The Pick and Roll, 2006 World Champion Lauren Jackson believed Australia was capable of defeating the Americans behind star centre Elizabeth Cambage.
“I don’t think America have an answer for Liz, our squad is very talented and will only get stronger with more time together.”
Following an injury interrupted preparation in which back court duo Leilani Mitchell and Lauren Mansfield were forced to withdraw from the side, Sami Whitcomb saw her first minutes as an Opal after winning the 2018 WNBA Championship with the Seattle Storm, enabling the Opals to field their final World Cup lineup for the first time.
The scrimmage was Australia’s last hit out against any opposition before they tip-off their World Cup campaign against Nigeria on Saturday, 22 September. In their preparations, Australia has encountered almost all the medal contenders for the 2018 World Cup, losing to France before bouncing back to account for Latvia and Turkey. Upon arriving in Spain, the Opals lost to the host nation in their final official exhibition contest.
The Opals commence their World Cup campaign against Nigeria at 8:30pm AEST on Saturday, 22 September, with every one of their games broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Opals World Cup Schedule (all times AEST)
22-Sep: vs Nigeria @ 8:30pm
23-Sep: vs Argentina @ 8:00pm
25-Sep: vs Turkey @ 8:30pm
26-Sep: Quarter-Final Qualifications
Australian Opals for 2018 FIBA World Cup
Rebecca ALLEN / New York Liberty
Alexandra BUNTON / Sydney Uni Flames
Elizabeth CAMBAGE / Dallas Wings
Katie-Rae EBZERY / Perth Lynx
Cayla GEORGE / Dallas Wings
Tessa LAVEY / Dandenong Rangers
Tess MADGEN / Townsville Fire
Ezi MAGBEGOR / Melbourne Boomers
Jenna O’HEA / Melbourne Boomers
Alanna SMITH / Stanford University
Stephanie TALBOT / Phoenix Mercury
Sami WHITCOMB / Seattle Storm