SAPPHIRES ADVANCE TO QUARTER-FINALS OF U17 WORLD CHAMPS

SAPPHIRES ADVANCE TO QUARTER-FINALS OF U17 WORLD CHAMPS

Defeating France 55-48 for a third consecutive win in the group stage of the FIBA Under-17 World Championships, Australia will now skip the Round of 16 and advance directly to the Quarter-Finals.

That reward will allow the Sapphires three rest days with the Quarter-Finals not set to begin until Wednesday night.

After winning their first two contests by an average margin of 37.5 points, Australia were made to fight by France despite another exceptional start to the game which saw the Sapphires lead 10-0.

France were able to tighten their defence following a time-out, forcing the Aussies to be beaten by the shot clock on numerous offensive trips and in a back-and-forth affair, they cut the margin to just five at half-time.

Coming out of the main break, Ezi Magbegor (eight points, five rebounds) found herself in foul trouble but captain Jasmine Simmons put the team on her back as she went coast-to-coast on more than one occasion to break the game open.

That up-tempo style of play inspired team mates Kiera Rowe (four points) and Monique Conti (six points, three steals) as they helped Australia finish the third quarter on another 10-0 run.

France fought until the end with a spot in the Round of 16 on the line for them but a couple more timely buckets from Jazmin Shelley (nine points, three steals) sealed the victory.

Losing the rebound count for the first time in the tournament, Australia atoned for that by forcing 31 French turnovers and holding their opposition to 32% field goal shooting.

Simmons was outstanding at both ends of the court, finishing with a game-high 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in a true captain's performance.

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

Australia's Quarter-Final opponent is unknown at this stage but you can keep track of the full schedule via the FIBA website here.

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