GEMS BOOK PLACE AT 2017 U19 WORLD CHAMPS BUT EMUS FALL IN GOLD MEDAL GAME

GEMS BOOK PLACE AT 2017 U19 WORLD CHAMPS BUT EMUS FALL IN GOLD MEDAL GAME

The Jayco Australia Gems have completed their unbeaten run through the FIBA Under-18 Oceania Championships, qualifying for next year's Under-19 World Championships but the Australian Emus could not emulate their success, falling to New Zealand in the gold medal game.

The Emus trailed for most of the contest against New Zealand but did own the lead in the final term before opposition captain Quinn Clinton hit an incredible banked three-point shot which proved to be the dagger in the 51-57 loss for Australia.

It was a tight defensive start from both teams in the first period and while New Zealand began to string together their offence late in that opening term, the Emus struggled offensively for the whole first half.

They shot just 25% from the field in the first quarter and 0-13 from the three-point line for the first two periods but Samson Froling's rim protection ensured New Zealand never owned a comfortable lead, going into the main break only up by seven.

A three from Clinton right out of half-time pushed the margin into double-digits for the first time but the Emus defence stepped up and with consecutive stops they were able to claw themselves back into the game.

Jacob Rigoni (11 points, three steals, three blocks) then hit Australia's first three of the night after 16 attempts and two Froling rejections, followed by a three-pointer from Sam Short (five points, three assists) tallied a 10-0 run for Australia.

It trimmed the margin to just two at the final break and Australia quickly gained the lead for the first time as Froling (eight points, four blocks) followed a Glover three with a huge steal and dunk in transition.

New Zealand remained calm though and were able to answer any momentum swings that the Emus gained before Clinton's three secured the victory for the Junior Tall Blacks.

Shooting just 27% from the field, Australia only had two players register double-figures in points with Glover's 12 a team-high. They did record 12 more shots than New Zealand but very few were open looks while they were also out-rebounded by 20.

Find the box score here with a replay of the game found below.

The Gems faced far less adversity in their gold medal game, defeating New Zealand 107-52.

The Kiwi's experienced first-hand just how tough the Australian's defence is right from the tip-off as they missed their first 11 field goals.

Chantel Horvat and Jazmin Shelley nailed three-pointers at the other end of the floor to quickly open up a double-digit lead and with Ezi Magbegor collecting three points, four rebounds, two assists and three blocks in the first term, the Gems led 28-9 by the first break.

They looked to push the tempo more in the second quarter which opened up the lanes for Abby Cubillo (five points, two assists, two steals) and Horvat while Shelley (17 points, three steals) took up residency in the corner to continue her hot long-range shooting.

Australia also began to take over on the glass and a sequence in which Horvat (a game-high 18 points with seven rebounds) reeled in three of her misses consecutively before finishing off the basket summed up New Zealand's struggles with 17 offensive boards for the Gems giving them a 29-point margin at half-time.

Zitina Aokuso (nine points, 17 rebounds) maintained that edge on the glass through the second half, completing dominating the paint alongside Magbegor (11 points, ten rebounds, five blocks) and Chloe Bibby (16 points, eight rebounds) and once Monique Conti (six points, three assists) began to impact the scoreboard, the game was beyond doubt.

Overall, Australia held the Kiwi's to 25% shooting from the field and pulled down 75 total boards, 32 of which were offensive which allowed them 22 more field goal attempts than their opposition.

The box score for the game can be found here while a replay of the game can be viewed below.

The FIBA Under-19 World Championships for women will be held in Italy from July 22-30 with the Gems the final team to qualify.

They have joined USA, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mali, Egypt, China, Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Russia, Latvia, Hungary and host nation Italy as the 16 teams set to compete for the gold medal.

The Gems have won the bronze medal at the past two tournaments while also securing the gold in 1993.

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