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Asia Cup: Opals flip the script

FROM the moment Opals captain Sami Whitcomb came down the floor and opened Australia's Asia Cup contest against Philippines with an all-swish 3-pointer, everyone in the venue in Jordan knew the script was about to be flipped by the Aussies. 

Whitcomb drained another triple, Darcee Garbin also added a long bomb and they had nine of the  Opals' match-winning 11-0 start.

The fumbling, uncertainty and lack of sync so apparent in the struggle against Chinese Taipeh was put to rest with a resounding 120-56 rout of the hapless Filipinos.

Every Opal scored as the gals from Manila folded, the Aussies winning the boards by a whopping 68-25. 

SHARP-SHOOTER: Lauren Nicholson had 4-of-5 threes in flaying the Philippines.

Hitting from range - Lauren Nicholson's game-high 21 points included 4-of-5 threes, while Jaz Shelley, Garbin and Alex Sharp all went 2-of-3 - forcing turnovers and attacking the rim, the Opals were relentless.

They also went to the stripe for 34 free throws compared to Philippines' reply of 3-of-5 as they instead settled for 35 triple attempts from their 69 shots from the floor. 

Coach Paul Goriss had the luxury of resting Whitcomb who still had eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 14-plus minutes.

China whipped the Philippines 143-52, suggesting a torrid showdown tonight for the Opals against one of the Cup favourites.

AUSTRALIA OPALS 120 (Nicholson 21, Froling 19, Garbin, Sharp, Scherf 12, Shelley 10; Froling 13 rebs; Whitcomb 7 assts) d PHILIPPINES 56 (Pontejos 13, Cayabyab 10; Castro 6 rebs; Nabalan 3 assts). Japan 62 d New Zealand 50, Korea 107 d India 69; China 124 d Chinese Taipei 50.

SUFFOCATING: There was no escaping the Opals' defensive pressure.

Sep 29

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