AUSTRALIA COMPLETE SWEEP OF RIO TEST EVENT WITH WIN OVER BRAZIL

AUSTRALIA COMPLETE SWEEP OF RIO TEST EVENT WITH WIN OVER BRAZIL

The Jayco Australian Opals have finished their Rio test event with an unbeaten record, taking care of Brazil on their home floor with a 77-67 victory.

Neither side was able to hit the scoreboard in the opening three minutes but once Australia found the basket, they never looked back, leading from start to finish after opening up a ten-point advantage at quarter-time.

Sharing the scoring duties as they had all weekend, four players reached double-figures. Leilani Mitchell (16 points, six assists and just one turnover) paced the Opals while Suzy Batkovic (15 points), Cayla Francis (12 points, nine rebounds) and Steph Talbot (10 points, seven boards) also starred.

“We had some outstanding performances in Leilani and Steph who shut down Brazil’s main scorer,” said coach Brendan Joyce.

“Rachel Jarry and Nat Burton both played outstanding defence as well, helping to shut out their main offensive weapons.”

As a team, the Opals shot 42% overall and 41% (11-27) from the three-point line but 23 turnovers was a blight on the scoresheet.

“We played pretty good basketball aside from our turnovers which kept Brazil in the game. We made adjustments at half-time though, it could have been a 20-point margin I think if we controlled our mistakes."

Looking at the test event overall, Joyce was particularly pleased with the performance of three players who were returning to the national stage from injury.

“One of the positives from this trip is that Jarry, Bec Allen and Erin Phillips have all been rehabbed so it was great to see them hit the court and make it through without injury.

“I’m pretty happy with our performance overall. It was a long flight for the girls and we had little preparation but by the time we got to our first game, the whole team was playing with confidence. There are areas we still need to improve but a number of these girls could definitely go to the Olympics, with the experience in the venue they now have.”

The Opals will reconvene a week after the WNBL finals with a camp of approximately 18-20 which will hopefully include the likes of Penny Taylor, Marianna Tolo and Tess Madgen who are also recovering from injury.

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