Opals failed to start the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup campaign in winning form. Last night fell in France 70-57 It was a match that showed that Opal had work to do, especially on the attacking side, to take on the best team in the world.
Australian fans flocked to the sold out Sydney Superdome to a capacity of 9,291 hoping Opal would win, but French superstar Gabby Williams had another idea.
The stadium was buzzing when the legendary Lauren Jackson checked into the game for the first time. The 41-year-old, who last played for Australia nine years ago, certainly gave Australia good times in the first half and late fourth quarter. .
Opals stayed close to France for the first three quarters, but it was Australia’s struggles in attack that finally sank any hopes of a comeback victory.
It meant Opal couldn’t land a shot, and the defense could only keep them afloat for long.In the end, France came out on top, with Williams sinking a dagger triple in the final two minutes. , finished with a game-high 23 points on an efficient 67. Shooting rate from the field.
Williams was economical, Australia was not. Opals connected on just 26% of their shots from the field and just 21.7% from deep. Shooting numbers like that and a total of 57 points just won’t get the job done at the World Cup.
Sniper Bec Allen will be key to everything Australia does in this tournament, but he will need a teammate to share the offensive burden.
The only Opal to score in double figures, Allen (16 points and 4 rebounds) kept the scoreboard moving early in the game, but Australia’s offense came under pressure as France’s defense increased in intensity. Unable to cope, turnovers increased rapidly.
After last night’s performance, you’d be forgiven for thinking Australia doesn’t have the best shooters, but that’s not the case.
Sami Whitcomb, Steph Talbot, Darcee Garbin, and others, all world-class shooters from deep, never hit triples in the game and totaled 0/10 from long range. It was typical of an Australian night, with players failing to make the most of their normal strengths on the court, and Ezi Magbegor also struggled to finish around the basket.
Many of Australia’s turnovers were the result of communication errors and lazy ball handling, and once turnovers began to take their toll, Opal slipped back into its shell and ball movement was almost non-existent.
Rather than relying on constantly crafting your own shots as the clock ticks, Opals should get the ball into the shooter’s hand as it emerges from the screen.
Worryingly, the game had a similar feel to the aggressive end of the Tokyo Olympic campaign, where Opal was unable to get anything offensively for much of the tournament and finished 9th overall. .
The good news is that despite all the offensive issues, there were real positives to come from this game that Australia could build on. Especially since tonight we will be facing a much lower ranked opponent, Mali.
Perhaps the biggest positive was that Australia’s defense was strong for most of the match. It was a defensive battle for most of the game, with Steph Talbot leading Australia to the edge of the floor with all-out effort and effort.
Coach Sandy Brondello has a lot to think about for the upcoming rotation. And the play of Christy Wallace and Marianna Toro used sparingly ensured more court time for both. More needs to be done with her relentless demeanor of harassing and utterly frustrating guards.
Her defensive job is elite, but giving her ball-handling responsibilities frees Whitcomb’s shooting brilliance, which was tied up most of the night by running Australia’s attack from over the keys. It is useful for
After playing just over two minutes in the first half of the game, the Toro hit their stride in the third quarter, doing what they have consistently done for the Opals throughout their career. Fight and scrap to improve your team.
Her third quarter turned the momentum of the game. She went undercover and quickly scored before driving France into a turnover, producing three efforts in seconds and ending with an And-1 play that had the Australian crowd on their feet.
At times, Opal lacked that manic but uncontrolled attack upon attack. It’s a fine line to walk, especially in the adrenaline-fueled World Cup opener at home, but one player who’s highly valued in that aspect of the game is Anneli Murray.
The only Opal who didn’t see court time last night, the current WNBL MVP is a workhorse who grabs offensive rebounds, dives for loose balls, and stops at nothing to generate energy on both ends of the court. Throwing her into the rotation will give Australia more variety on the attacking side.
It’s been a far from ideal opening of a World Cup campaign for Opal, but it’s not all doom and gloom. In the world he is ranked 6th. France are a very good team and will have many opponents to suffer throughout this tournament, but Opal need to handle defensive pressure better.
They also need to hit more shots.
Taking on world number 37 Mali will give Opals the perfect opportunity to regain momentum and get the tournament off the ground.
Missed shots and pressure caused Opals to lose the Basketball World Cup to France
Source link Missed shots and pressure caused Opals to lose the Basketball World Cup to France