Jayco Opals beat Angola and seal Sheffield tournament
The Jayco Australian Opals have defeated Angola in a dominant display overnight, running away with a big 70-46 win to claim the Sheffield International Invitational Tournament with a 3-0 record in the UK.
The Aussies dominated the glass, winning the count 48-29. They were exceptional from the charity stripe also, connecting on 18-21 attempts (86 per cent), with their opponent making just 7-12 (58 per cent).
It was a positive start for the Jayco Opals in this contest, the team making some great defensive plays, while again establishing Cambage inside early to build a handy first-quarter lead, going into the first break in front 19-12.
The Aussies were keen to get their running game going and created several good looks in transition. Perimeter shooting however did let the Jayco Opals down, and with Angola effective off the dribble and finding avenues to the basket, the athletic Africans remained within touch.
The Aussies adjusted to the speed of Angola and lifted their intensity on defense, containing their drives and getting more effective rotations defensively. Nacissela Mauricio almost single-handedly kept Angola in the game with a strong offensive presence.
The Jayco Opals defense did frustrate the Angolans, and following a string of tough shots, the Jayco Opals were starting to dominate the rebound count and used this to established a 17-point lead going into the change-rooms.
The Aussies mixed up their defensive approach at the start of the third period. Snell found open looks and connected from range. Bishop was a work-horse on defense as well as on the offensive glass.
Angola came back towards the end of the third term, going on a scoring streak — they shot well from the perimeter against the Jayco Opals’ zone, allowing them to stay in touch on the scoreboard, trailing the Aussies by just 12 points heading into the fourth period.
Kathleen MacLeod provided a strong injection at the offensive end as well as an excellent passing avenue to Cambage, Hodges, and Bishop on the inside. The Jayco Opals quickly extended their lead to over 20 points in the last quarter, dominating possession and the boards.
The last term was a dominant display by the Aussies, with the Jayco Opals eventually running away 24-point winners.
“It was a great way to end the Sheffield leg; we made some good improvements here,” said head coach Carrie Graf.
“We now head to France for the final phase of our Olympic preparation. There are strong teams in the France tournament so we are looking forward to the match-ups there,” she said.
“This is a beneficial tournament for us; it was good to get these practise matches in before the Olympics,” said Liz Cambage. “There is a great feeling on court, and I feel like we have done well to step up in the absence of our other bigs,” she said.
The Jayco Opals now enjoy a few days rest before traveling to France to resume their competition schedule on 20, 21 and 22 July.
Jayco Australian Opals 70 (Cambage 21, Bishop 15) defeated Angola 46 (Mauricio 16)