The Emerging Opals are through to the women’s basketball gold medal match for the second summer Universiade in a row, after overcoming Portugal in the semifinal 56-49.
Going into the match undefeated, Australia was slow out of the blocks with some early mistakes giving Portugal the halftime lead 29-25. Things remained the same in the third quarter with the four-point deficit still intact. However, coach Shannon Seebohm said the team’s confidence never wavered.
“We were always confident. We knew that we had it in ourselves to make a comeback and win the game,” said Seebohm following the game.
“I think for us it was just about settling into the game. We were speeding it up too much.”
The Emerging Opals did appear to struggle to adjust to the pace of the game early on, with Portugal’s stout defence combined with some Uniroos errors leading to the slow start. The team committed 20 turnovers to keep their opponents in the game.
Keely Froling (University of Canberra) proved to be a game changer off the bench, scoring 18 points and going to the free-throw line eight times. She was joined by Anneli Maley (LCI Melbourne) who came up big to score seven points off the bench including a huge 3-pointer to give the UniRoos the lead late in the game.
The win showcased the true grit and determination that has become consistent with this team throughout the tournament, with coach Seebohm saying he was very pleased with how the players produced in trying conditions.
“We were very pleased with the work rate and determination of the team, absolutely.”
“And to be honest, I think we’re going to have to do the exact same thing in the final.”
The team now comes up against the United States of America in the gold medal match, pitting the two undefeated teams of the competition together. The gold medal match will be played on Wednesday 10 July with tip-off at 20:00 CEST (4:00am AEST) and can be streamed live on FISU.TV.
The Emerging Boomers are through to the semifinals after beating Argentina 73-64 in their quarterfinal encounter.
Australia came out firing going on a 9-0 run to start the game and never looked back. Although it was a tight game the entire way the Emerging Boomers never trailed.
Captain Jack White (Duke University) led the team with 19 points and vice-captain Will Magney (Open Universities) was close to a double-double with 12 rebounds and nine points.
The Emerging Boomers play the Ukraine, who only sneaked past Canada by two points in their quarterfinal match, in the semifinals on Tuesday 9 July at 20:00 CEST (4:00 AEST) and can be streamed on live on FISU.TV.
Read the full Basketball Australia report HERE.