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AC: Opals 'take care of business'

IT was supposed to be the Gold Medal "revenge" match at this year's FIBA Asia Cup in Bengaluru, India, but instead Australia now will meet Japan in a semi final tomorrow after turning Chinese Taipei into tapas and feasting 90-51 in tonight's qualifying match.

After their shock loss to China in Group B play, the Opals had to get past CT to advance to the semis and they did it in style, a 26-9 first quarter backed by a 26-14 second period to end this by halftime.

Australia shot at 53 percent to CT's 23, won the boards 51-39 and had 30 assists to 11. It was a Bengaluru belting.

Nicole Seekamp came off the bench to record her international career-high with 10 rebounds, Sara Blicavs was active and a relentless livewire at both ends while Bec Allen (below) had her stroke going with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 3-of-3 threes.

It was as complete a victory as the Opals have enjoyed all tournament and gave coach Sandy Brondello the luxury of only playing Jenna O'Hea for 7:37 and Leilani Mitchell for 14:08.

Mitchell was the only one in the 12-player rotation who did not score, Australia with five players in double figures and Seekamp with nine points.

This absolutely was a "taking care of business" performance by the Opals who now face their nemesis Japan - winners of the 2017 Asia Cup Final 74-73 over Australia - in a semi final to mostly likely have a second crack at China in the Final.

“The teams are totally different," Brondello said of the showdown with Japan. "I think we had two from (the previous) Asia Cup.

"We are a different team now, but we have a lot of respect for them. This (Japanese) team plays a little differently from what we are used to, but hopefully we can get ready for them.

"It’s going to be a great challenge for us tomorrow.”

AUSTRALIA OPALS 90 (Allen 15, Magbegor 13, George 12, Talbot 11, Blicavs 10; Seekamp 10 rebs; Seekamp, O'Hea 5 assts) d CHINESE TAIPEI 51 (Huang, Chen 11; Tsai 5 rebs; 4 with 2 assts).

SEEK AND DESTROY: Nicole Seekamp enjoyed a career-high 10 boards. Pics courtesy

Sep 27

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