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Opals go 2-0 with 'blitz'

DEVASTATING the Philippines with a 29-0 run, Australia has made it two straight wins in its FIBA Asia Cup debut, Sara Blicavs today’s stand-out.

Blicavs starred with 17 points at 54 per cent, and enjoyed game highs in rebounding (8), assists (6) and steals (4) as the Opals posted an impressive 107-65 rout at Bengaluru Stadium.

She opened the game with two slick assists as Australia quickly established its superiority with an initial 8-0 run which then went further out to 12-2 on consecutive Kelsey Griffin baskets. By the first break, the Opals had a whopping 38-14 stranglehold on the match. 

BLITZ! Sara Blicavs on the break against Philippines. Picture courtesy

Those early signs of Opals nerves from their series opening win over Korea were no-where to be seen as Australia clamped down hard in the second period.

Katie-Rae Ebzery’s 3-pointer took the lead from 43-23 to 46-23 and from there, the Opals piled on the pressure at both ends.

The Phillipines did not score in the final 7:21 of the period as Australia swept on to a Herculean 68-23 halftime lead.

It held the Philippines to nine points for the quarter, then opened the second half with two baskets in the first minute for a 72-23 lead – the Opals’ largest buffer – before the drought finally was broken at 8:58.

Having held the Philippines scoreless for 8:23 of the contest and with Opals coach Olaf Lange keeping players such as Griffin and Belinda Snell in cotton wool ahead of tomorrow’s showdown with two-time defending Asia Cup champion Japan, some looseness crept into the Aussie game.

To their credit, the Filipinos battled out the contest and outscored Australia after halftime, making Japan’s final scoreline against them – 106-55 – look slightly more imposing.

Steph Blicavs led Australia’s scoring with 18 points, including 8-of-8 from the free throw line after copping some heavy treatment.

BLITZ 2! Steph Blicavs took her share of punishment. Picture courtesy

Alanna Smith again was value-for-minutes with 12 points, seven boards and four assists.

Despite playing just 10:39, Griffin also was terrific value with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting and five rebounds, Australia swamping the Philippines 47-21 on the glass.

AUSTRALIA 107 (Steph Blicavs 18, Sara Blicavs 17, Ebzery, Mansfield, Smith 12, Hodges 10; Sa Blicavs 8 rebs; Sa Blicavs 6 assts; Sa Blicavs 4 stls) d PHILIPPINES 65 (Pontejos 18, Lim 11; Cabinbin 4 rebs; Cabinbin 5 assts; 3 with 2 stls).

VALUE FOR TIME: Kelsey Griffin was effective again. Picture courtesy

MEANWHILE Oceania rival New Zealand, whacked 77-48 yesterday by China, today bounced back by shaking off the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea 71-50.

Jill Harmon, with a 23-point, 13-rebound double, and Micaela Cocks with 18 points and four assist, led the Tall Ferns.

Jul 24

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