One can say that for the first time this World Cup that Australia received a real test.
All of Australia’s prior to its semifinal contest with Spain were all dominating wins, but the Opals got a major scare at the hands of Spain.
When all was said and done, Australia pulled off a 72-66 win to advance to the FIBA World Cup final against Team USA.
After the third quarter, Spain held a 58-50 lead on the Opals, but Australia did to Spain what Spain themselves pulled off in the quarterfinals against Canada.
The Opals outscored Spain 22-8 in the fourth quarter, just as Spain held Canada to only three points on Friday. The tone of that fourth quarter was set early when Australia embarked on a 9-0 run to begin the frame.
One cannot say enough about where Australia would be without Liz Cambage, who has scored at least 20 points in every game of the tournament. She scored 33 points, hauled in 15 rebounds, and blocked four shots.
Cayla George aided Australia’s rebounding efforts with 11. Katie Ebzery scored 10 points and Stephanie Talbot passed out eight assists.
Astou Ndour scored 17 points for Spain. Alba Torrens scored 15 and lai Palau finished with eight assists.
Twenty of Spain’s points were off Opals turnovers and they got 17 fast break points. One can say Spain did a lot of the things they had to do to win – until the fourth quarter came along.