On Thursday, the Australian Opals made victory over Belgium by 86-69 in the quarter-finals of the basketball World Cup and placed in the semi-finals. Australia will now play with China on Friday in the semi-final.
Centre Cayla George said they compete for a place in the gold medal match at the women’s basketball World Cup and will do their utmost to ignore memories of their last meeting with China.
In Opal’s last match against China at Tokoyo Olympics, the score was level in the final 0.6 seconds, and George was ruled to have fouled Li Yueru under the ring, but the referee closest to the play let the foul go.
After the referee’s decision, China gained a chance to shoot two free throws and win the game.
George said Australia could not afford to become bogged down in the past when they met China in Friday night’s semi-final, but coach Sandy Brondello expressed her disappointment with the last-second call.
In the quarter-final match against Belgium, which Australia won by 86-69, George played very well as she scored 19 points and nine rebounds.
After the win, George said we are just trying to put last year behind us and move forward because we are in the now and are playing great basketball.
There are only seven of the 12 players playing who was in the team that lost to China last year.
George said, It’s not a comparable year, and China is a tough team who is playing great basketball. It’s going to be a big challenge for us, and I think we are up for it, she said.
Lauren Jackson produced the best performance of her international comeback, as she played more minutes against Belgium than in any other game at the tournament, and she finished with 12 points.
This World Cup semi-final match will be China’s first in 28 years.
Brondello said you see the chemistry that they have, and their players have improved every year, which I’ve seen over my tenure as Opals coach, and they’re very versatile.
Moreover, she said we have more experience, but they beat us last year as they played with a lot of confidence.