The Seven Consulting Opals will play for a bronze medal on Sunday after falling to China in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup semi-finals.
Australia started strongly in front of a packed QuayCentre and capitalised on China’s early inefficiency but once the World Cup silver medallist connected, they’d go on to lead at every break on the way to a 74-60 victory.
Australia now face New Zealand in the bronze medal decider on Sunday at 12.30pm.
Alice Kunek was the Opals best player, scoring a team-high 16 points including several tough, needed baskets. The 32-year-old also had 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
Kunek telling BA Media the Opals would now focus on recovery, a short turnaround and achieving victory over the Tall Ferns tomorrow.
“China are a great team, I’m really disappointed for our group but we really did fight until the end. I just think we really need to regroup and get that bronze medal tomorrow,” she said.
“Any chance to win a medal at any tournament is absolutely incredible, I would’ve loved to be fighting for that gold tomorrow but we’ll take if we can get the bronze, at least we came away with a medal here.
“We just keep growing as a group, keep learning and improving in every game.”
Guards Shyla Heal (12 points, 3 assists) and Maddy Rocci (10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) built on their solid form from Friday night’s win over Korea.
A strength of Australia’s Pool B campaign has been scoring power off the bench but the Opals managed just 17 points outside their starters against China.
Japan will be shooting for a sixth-straight Asia Cup title when it takes on China in the gold medal match at 3pm.