Opals overwhelm China

The Australian women’s basketball team have powered through the final stages of their quarterfinal match with China on Day 11 to set up a semi-final clash with the USA.

The Opals led 57-52 at the start of the final term and wore the Chinese right down with their size and strength from there, to win 75-60.

Australia will play the USA on Day 13. The Americans qualified for the semis with a 91-48 win over Canada.

Asked if the Aussies could finally turn the tables on the Americans after being beaten by them in the gold medal match at the last three Olympics, Aussie star Suzy Batkovic said: “It’s got to start somewhere. It’s time for a change, I think, so hopefully we can get it done. Hopefully, it’s payback time for previous Olympics.”

Batkovic said the key to an Opals win over the Americans would have to be defence.

“We’ve got to get stops,” she said. “They’re incredible athletes. For us, it’s going to be about the defensive end, and getting good, easy looks on the offensive end. Moving the ball and setting good screens and things like that.

“We’re finished with China. Next stop is America, and we move on to bigger things. We’re just trying to build every game.”

Opals coach Carrie Graf said the Aussies had been much more consistent over the course of the game against China than they were in the preliminary rounds.

“We talked about playing for 40 minutes,” she said. “We thought we could wear them out with our running and our possession game, and I think we did that. We got out and ran, and I think that was certainly our plan.”

Courtesy Australian Olympic Committee