STEPH REID AND EMERGING OPALS SHINE WITH BACK-TO-BACK WORLD UNI GAMES GOLD MEDALS

Published on: Jul 10 2019
Author: FDBA
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The Emerging Opals have completed an outstanding World University Games campaign, finishing undefeated to claim back-to-back gold medals with an 80-72 victory over the USA in the final.

Both teams came into the game without a loss and the USA were keen to avenge their Quarter-Final defeat at the hands of Australia from 2017.

The Emerging Opals doubled their pain though, using a 15-2 run at the end of the third quarter to clinch a composed and consummate victory.

Lauren Scherf, Alex Sharp, Keely Froling and Abbey Wehrung have been a part of both gold medal wins while coach Shannon Seebohm ably took over the reigns from 2017 gold medalist head coach, Chris Lucas.

With only four points separating the sides inside the last three minutes of the third quarter, Wehrung sparked the game-winning run with eight straight points from her own hand.

The Emerging Opals had missed every attempt from beyond the arc in the first half but Wehrung knocked down consecutive triples and Keely Froling followed with a three-point play opportunity of her own.

Steph Reid (seven points, two assists) then drilled a corner three and Lara McSpadden hit a lay-up on the three-quarter time buzzer to record a 15-2 run, turning a 51-47 edge into a 66-48 lead.

Keely Froling and Scherf ensured there would be no comeback from the USA, combining to score the first eight points for Australia to open the fourth quarter.

The team did allow themselves to take the foot off the pedal slightly down the stretch as the USA scored the last nine points but the game was beyond doubt and celebrations soon began.

The Emerging Opals were on from the opening tip with Wehrung and Scherf (16 points, seven rebounds, five assists) scoring four points each in a 14-4 run that started the contest.

The Americans did cut the deficit to six nearing quarter-time but Wehrung got a steal and then found Keely Froling (12 points, seven rebounds) under the rim right on the buzzer.

Their offence came to a halt in the second period, unable to score for over four minutes as USA responded with a 6-0 run.

Alicia Froling righted the ship for the Emerging Opals though and then some solid free-throw shooting from Scherf as well as rejections for herself and McSpadden kept Australia’s nose in front by three points at half-time.

The USA moved in front momentarily at the start of the third term and the teams traded baskets with Maddi Rocci (eight points, four assists) hitting two three-pointers before Wehrung (18 points, 11 assists) caught fire to set up a memorable victory.

Find the stats here.