EMERGING OPALS 2019 WORLD UNI GAMES RECAPS
GAME 5 (Semi-Final) v. Portugal
The Emerging Opals will battle for their second straight gold medal at the 2019 World University Games while the Emerging Boomers have advanced to the Semi-Finals after both teams enjoyed a successful night in Naples, Italy.
Australia and Portugal entered their Semi-Final clash with unbeaten records, both having won all four games leading up to the penultimate game.
Neither team was willing to give an inch in a hard-fought game but despite trailing at every break, the Emerging Opals led when it mattered most, claiming a 56-49 victory.
Entering the final term down by four points, the Emerging Opals had struggled to find their range from beyond the arc all game but three-pointers from Abbey Wehrung (five points, two assists) and Anneli Maley sparked an 11-2 run to give them the lead.
Portugal then found themselves in foul trouble midway through the quarter and while Australia’s lead was only three inside the last 90 seconds, Lauren Scherf (six points, 13 rebounds) came up clutch with six straight free-throws.
Keely Froling capped off a brilliant game with two late free-throws as well to secure the comeback win and set up a tilt at defending their 2017 World University Games gold medal.
The night did not start out well for Australia as it took them over three minutes to hit their first field goal.
Portugal were unable to inflict much damage on the scoreboard though and Keely Froling and Maley (seven points, five rebounds) then came off the bench to combine for eight points and make it a two-point game at quarter-time.
Ezi Magbegor (eight points, three assists) made her presence felt in the second term, setting up Jasmine Simmons for a three-point play and scoring a basket herself.
However, Portugal was able to sneak ahead by four at half-time after out-scoring the Emerging Opals by 15 from beyond the arc with Australia coming up empty on all four long-range attempts.
Frustrations were building from the Emerging Opals camp as Portugal moved out to a game-high seven-point lead in the third but Stephanie Reid (eight points, three steals) countered with a couple of nice cuts to the ring.
Keely Froling (18 points, three assists, two steals) then scored a quick five points, including draining the Emerging Opals’ first three of the game.
That gave them some momentum heading down the stretch while also keeping the margin at a manageable four points at the last change.
Find the stats here.
Australia will now meet the USA in the 2019 World University Games gold medal game at 4am AEST on Thursday morning.
That clash will be a replay of the 2017 Quarter-Final when the Emerging Opals prevailed on their way to the gold medal and will be available to watch via the Olympic Channel.
Game 4 v. CHINESE TAIPEI
The Emerging Opals have secured a hard-fought 81-72 victory over Chinese Taipei to maintain their unbeaten streak and advance to the Semi-Finals of the 2019 World University Games.
Australia led for almost the entire contest but Chinese Taipei were never far away, threatening with several runs before time eventually ran out for a comeback.
As has been the case for most of the tournament, the Emerging Opals front court did the damage and it was Keely Froling and Ezi Magbegor that set the tone by scoring nine points apiece in the first period.
That helped their side create an eight-point gap but just as it looked like they may run away with it, Chinese Taipei reduced the margin to one by finding their shooting stroke.
Australia replied to take a six-point lead into half-time courtesy of a big quarter from Lauren Scherf who tallied 14 points and eight boards while Froling (15 points, seven rebounds) and Magbegor (15 points, four boards) had each moved into double-figure scoring as well.
That momentum carried the Emerging Opals to their biggest lead of the game midway through the third but once again Chinese Taipei did not give in, cutting a ten-point lead down to just two at three-quarter time.
Needing another response, the Australians got it from Stephanie Reid (eight points) and Scherf who continued to dominate on her way to a game-high 26 points, ten rebounds and three blocks.
That saw the Aussies move back in front by eight, four minutes into the final period and this time, there would not be another comeback from Chinese Taipei.
The Emerging Opals were able to consolidate a nine-point victory with Maddison Rocci (four points, five rebounds, five assists) playing a nice cameo.
Find the stats here.
The Emerging Opals now prepare for a Semi-Final early Tuesday morning Australian time with that clash and their medal game to be streamed via the Olympic Channel.
There will be an Australian double-header at that time with the Emerging Boomers taking on Argentina in their Quarter-Final at 4am AEST. A win there will also see their final two games streamed via the Olympic Channel.
Game 3 v. CHINA
The Emerging Opals have finished the group stage of the 2019 World University Games undefeated to advance to the Quarter-Finals
Having secured convincing wins in their first two games, the Emerging Opals faced their toughest challenge so far against China in their last group stage game.
Ezi Magbegor got them off to a solid start by scoring six of Australia’s first ten points but China found their stroke early, drilling 4-7 from the three-point line to gain an advantage.
Keely Froling (11 points, five rebounds) and Abbey Wehrung ensured the margin stayed within reach but the three-point shooting continued for China into the second term and began to be an issue for the Emerging Opals.
The lead got out to nine as they closed in on half-time but Wehrung, with assistance from Maddi Rocci (11 points), reeled China in to tie things up at 50-50 heading into the main break.
Captain Wehrung finished with 27 points and six assists, knocking down four three’s and shooting 9-14 overall and she helped Australia carry momentum into the third period.
There, Rocci scored five points and Magbegor (21 points, 14 rebounds) and Alex Sharp (ten points, six boards) contributed to a 10-2 run.
They maintained that edge down the stretch, owning an eight-point lead, but China had one last run in them.
They cut the deficit to two with only two minutes remaining as they knocked down 14 three-pointers for the game to out-score the Emerging Opals by 24 from long range.
Scherf (four points, seven rebounds, six assists) had the answer with a lay-up though and Australia consolidated in the final minute to secure top spot in the group with a 90-84 victory.
Find the stats here.
The Emerging Opals now await the final group stage results as they get set to take on the second-placed team from Group C in Sunday night/Monday morning’s Quarter-Final.
GAME 2 v.CANADA
Against Canada, the Emerging Opals’ opponents drained two three-pointers in the opening minutes to assert thmselves quickly.
However, that would prove to be the only time Canada would lead as Australia responded with a 14-3 run and never looked back.
As was the case in their first match-up of the tournament against Finland, the Emerging Opals’ height and strength in the front court proved to be a deciding factor against Canada.
Lauren Scherf was a force in the paint while Keely Froling showcased her range with two three’s to give her side a double-digit edge at quarter-time.
Keely Froling continued to light it up in the second stanza, hitting her first four three-pointers of the game and scoring 16 points on 6-6 shooting overall by half-time.
Anneli Maley (ten points) and Scherf (16 points, five rebounds) then joined in on the act from downtown to double up Canada on the scoreboard, 42-21, at half-time.
The second half followed the same script with coach Shannon Seebohm able to rotate through his entire roster again with nine players hitting the scoreboard as Australia ran away with a convincing 85-51 win.
Ezi Magbegor notched a double-double of 16 points and ten rebounds, Maddi Rocci recorded nine points and seven assists while Keely Froling finished with 20 points on 7-8 shooting.
Find the stats here.
The Emerging Opals will now take on China on Friday night in a quick turnaround from today’s game. The winner of that clash will claim top spot in Group D before the Quarter-Finals begin late Sunday night.
GAME 1 v. FINLAND
The Emerging Opals have opened their account at the 2019 World University Games with a convincing 68-51 victory over Finland.
Australia’s front court had an advantage all night and Alex Sharp (15 points, nine rebounds) went to work quickly, scoring eight points in the first five minutes to get the Emerging Opals off to the perfect start.
That helped them gain a 25-12 lead at quarter-time and while Finland found their three-point range in the second term, Australia’s dominance in the paint kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end.
Ezi Magbegor (17 points, eight rebounds) and Lauren Scherf (12 points, eight boards, five assists) combined to keep the Emerging Opals up by double-digits and they continued to go to work out of the main break.
Getting looks close to the rim and several second chance opportunities thanks to 12 total offensive rebounds, Australia used a 10-2 run to push the game beyond Finland’s reach.
Their team defence was suffocating as well, restricting their opponents to just five points for the period.
Finland did not give in and were able to find their offence again, trimming the margin to 14 down the stretch but the damage had been done as the Emerging Opals ultimately secured a 17-point victory.
Maddison Rocci tallied five points, two assists and two steals while Keely Froling also impressed, scoring 13 points to help Australia finish with a 52-12 advantage in the paint as all 11 players saw court time.
Find the stats here.
During the game, the Emerging Opals showed their support for Tiana Mangakahia following her brave announcement that she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer and the thoughts of the team as well as the entire Basketball Australia family are with Tiana.
The Emerging Opals continue their tournament late on Thursday night against Canada.
Find stats and results from the entire tournament here and stay tuned for updates regarding live-streaming.
The Emerging Opals Schedule for the 2019 World Uni Games:
July 3: Emerging Opals def. Finland 68-51
July 5: Emerging Opals vs. Canada at 1.30am
July 5: Emerging Opals vs. China at 6.30pm
July 8: Emerging Opals’ Quarter-Finals at 1.30am or 4am
July 9: Emerging Opals’ Semi-Finals at 1.30am or 4am
July 11: Emerging Opals’ medal games at 1.30am and 4am