Stay up to date with our national Women’s Basketball team as they fight for gold!

Bronzed Opals
12 August 2012

Australia have put the disappointment of a semi-final loss to the USA behind them to win the bronze medal match in women’s basketball at North Greenwich Arena.

The Opals proved too strong for opponents Russia, getting on top early in the physical battle and going on to win 83-74. Veteran Suzy Batkovic was instrumental in setting up the win with a tremendous first half, and the team finished it off in style from there.

Driven by Batkovic’s power play and excellent shooting, the Opals were able to go to halftime with an eight-point lead. She had provided a great presence under the basket at the offensive end, and the Russians couldn’t handle her.

Batkovic finished the first half as the leading scorer from both sides, with 12 points. She also had four rebounds, as did Lauren Jackson.

Australia led 17-16 after a first quarter in which the Russians had led by as much as four points.

The lead changed hands several times early in the second term, before the Opals went on a 7-0 scoring run to lead 26-20. The lead got as big as 10 points late in the half, but the Russians cut it back to eight, 38-30, with the last basket before the main break.

Australia shot at a terrific 58 per cent (15 from 26) in the first half, compared to 38 per cent (13 from 34) by Russia. The Aussies had also led the rebounding, 20-16, including 17-10 at the defensive end.

Kristi Harrower had also contributed strongly in the first half, with nine points. Rachel Jarry had made six. The Opals had made more turnovers (eight to six) than the Russians, but their opponents hadn’t made them pay.

Russia made a run immediately the third quarter began, cutting Australia’s lead by five points, back to 38-35, but the Opals answered brilliantly, embarking on a 10-0 run of their own to lead by 13, 48-35.

The Russians were always going to be under pressure to make it back from there, as long as the Aussies remained focused.

Russia cut the lead back to nine with a series of successful free throws, but again the Aussies responded, this time with an 8-0 run to lead by 17, 56-39. The Opals led 57-43 at the end of three quarters.

The Aussies just had to remain committed to see the win home from there, and when the Russians came at them early in the final quarter they responded well.

Russia made another determined run to cut the deficit to five points with 80 seconds left with Batkovic having fouled out, but Australia lifted their intensity again to make sure of victory.

Greg Prichard in London

Opals suffer heartbreaking loss to US
10 August 2012

The USA have proved to be Australia’s basketball nemesis yet again, powering home in the second half to beat the Opals in the women’s semi-finals on Day 13.

Australia had led by four points at halftime, but the Americans responded with a tremendous second-half display that was both athletic and physical at the same time. The USA turned things around to lead 65-59 at the end of the third quarter, and ran away in the final term to win 86-73.

The USA had beaten Australia in the gold medal match at each of the previous three Olympics, and have now pushed the Aussies back to the bronze medal match.

Australia gave it their best shot, and played a great first half, but just couldn’t keep it going at that level when the Americans answered the challenge.

There was disappointment among the Aussies, and tears from veteran player Kristi Harrower, who is making her farewell from international play at this tournament. Young star Liz Cambage was also close to tears after the match.

 Another Aussie, Jenny Screen, finished with a black eye. She was unable to play the second half because her right eye was shut after a collision.
“You win some and you lose some, and unfortunately we lost this one,” Opals star Suzy Batkovic said. “But we can hold our heads high. We gave it whatever we could.”

Cambage, who starred in the first half but was shut out of the second, said the Americans had upped their defensive pressure substantially in the third quarter.

“It’s hard,” she said. “The US are tops in a lot of sports in the world, but we came out fighting and we went down fighting.”

Harrower said through the tears:  “I have no regrets. We’ve been a successful team for such a long time, and I’m very fortunate to be a part of the success the Opals have had. Now we’ve just got to get ready for the gold medal game.”

Opals captain Lauren Jackson said the Aussies had given it their all.

“We didn’t adjust properly in the second half, but the Australians can hold their heads up,” she said. “I think we have gotten better as a team and now the challenge is to pick ourselves up and move forward.”

Cambage was the overwhelming reason Australia led 47-43 at halftime. She had dominated under the basket at the offensive end, simply proving too big and strong for the Americans to handle.

Cambage was a runaway pointscoring leader at the long break, with 19 points. The next best from a player on either team at that stage was 10, from American captain Sue Bird.

Kristi Harrower, with seven points, and Lauren Jackson (six) were other solid contributors for Australia in the first half. The Aussies had shot at a tremendous 61 per cent from the field (20 from 33). The USA had shot at 44 per cent (18 from 41).

The USA bounced out of the blocks to score the first two baskets of the match and lead 4-0, but that didn’t faze the Australians. They settled into the match soon enough, and eventually levelled at 6-6.

The Americans mostly stayed a basket ahead of Australia during the first quarter, but in the last few minutes of it the Aussies pressed harder and established an 18-14 lead.

The Opals took a 22-20 lead to quarter-time, and backed that effort up with a great second quarter. They were never headed during that term, and twice they got out to seven-point leads.

Australia were mixing it up well, taking shots from long range as well as finding Cambage in the paint. Cambage was playing like a veteran as she used her physical presence to not only win the ball but also position herself perfectly to get it into the basket.

Cambage also did her work in the rebounding area in the first half, coming up with five. Jackson was a big factor in rebounding at the defensive end in the first half, making eight.

Australia had put themselves in with a great chance of beating their arch rivals, but there was no doubt the Americans would come back at them hard in the second half.

And come out hard and fast the USA did, scoring the first two baskets of the third quarter to regain the lead, 48-47. They were also defending harder on Cambage and Jackson, and making them try to earn their points via the free-throw line.

The game was at its most physical now, and the USA were intent on driving hard to the basket and challenging the Opals to stop them.

The USA were threatening to get away a bit midway through the third term, when they led 55-54, but then Australia rose again. Jackson made a three, and Suzy Batkovic a two, and the Aussies were back in front, 56-55.

But then the Americans scored three straight baskets for a 61-56 lead, their biggest of the game to that stage. Rachel Jarry responded for Australia with a two-pointer and the extra point from a foul, but then the Americans made back-to-back baskets again for a 65-59 lead at the end of the third term.

The Americans had done a far better job in not only defending Cambage, but also stopping the ball from getting to her very often. Cambage didn’t score a point in the third quarter.

Australia badly needed to get a good start to the fourth quarter to try to upset the established rhythm of the USA, but the Americans made three of the first four baskets to stretch their lead to nine points, 71-62.

The Opals were under heavy pressure now, as they stared the distinct possibility of another Olympic defeat at the hands of the Americans in the face. Australia took a timeout, but fell two points further behind when they came out of it.

The USA weren’t threatened from that point, getting out to a 15-point lead at one stage before winning by 13 points.

Greg Prichard in London


Opals book semi showdown with USA
8 August 2012

The Australian women’s basketball team have powered through the final stages of their quarterfinal match with China on Day 11 to set up a semi-final clash with the USA.

The Opals led 57-52 at the start of the final term and wore the Chinese right down with their size and strength from there, to win 75-60.

Australia will play the USA on Day 13. The Americans qualified for the semis with a 91-48 win over Canada.

Asked if the Aussies could finally turn the tables on the Americans after being beaten by them in the gold medal match at the last three Olympics, Aussie star Suzy Batkovic said: “It’s got to start somewhere. It’s time for a change, I think, so hopefully we can get it done. Hopefully, it’s payback time for previous Olympics.”

Batkovic said the key to an Opals win over the Americans would have to be defence.

“We’ve got to get stops,” she said. “They’re incredible athletes. For us, it’s going to be about the defensive end, and getting good, easy looks on the offensive end. Moving the ball and setting good screens and things like that.

“We’re finished with China. Next stop is America, and we move on to bigger things. We’re just trying to build every game.”

Opals coach Carrie Graf said the Aussies had been much more consistent over the course of the game against China than they were in the preliminary rounds.”

“We talked about playing for 40 minutes,” she said. “We thought we could wear them out with our running and our possession game, and I think we did that. We got out and ran, and I think that was certainly our plan.

“We didn’t think we were going to win it in the first or second quarter. It was a case of could we wear them down over the course of the game, and I think we did that.”

Australia began the match quickly, coming up with the first two baskets from Lauren Jackson and Belinda Snell for a 4-0 lead. But the Chinese hung in there, and midway through the first quarter they grabbed the lead, 9-8.

But they only held it for a few seconds before Jackson grabbed it back with her second basket. China eventually got back in front, 14-12, but the Opals finished the term with a 10-2 run to go to quarter-time with a 22-16 lead.

Jackson pushed that lead out to nine points, 25-16, with a three-pointer to begin the second term, but then the Aussies went cold on offence and failed to score for five minutes.

China came up with seven points during that time to cut Australia’s lead to 25-23. The Opals began to perk up again, but their attack was spluttering at best for the rest of the first half.

The Chinese kept pressing, eventually getting level at 31-31. Two free throws from Liz Cambage put the Aussies back in front, 33-31, but late in the term Chinese came up with back-to-back baskets to establish a three-point lead, 36-33.

Jackson fought hard under the basket to score the last points of the half and take the Australians to the dressing-room one point down, 36-35.

The Australians shot at just 32 per cent (11 from 34) in the first half. China were better, with 16 successes from 34 attempts for a success rate of 47 per cent.

Australia were going to have to play at a quicker pace and be more aggressive in defence to get the job done from there, and they began the third quarter with a much better attitude.

Kritsi Harrower immediately put them back in front, 37-36, and soon after Batkovic came up with back-to-back baskets to make the lead 41-37. But, again, the Aussies went off the boil.

China got back to 41-40 down, and following an Australian turnover the Chinese ran away to score again and regain the lead, 42-41. Midway through the term the Chinese were out to a 44-41 advantage, and the Opals were missing too many shots.

They finally nailed one through Cambage to leave the Aussies one point down with 4min 30sec left in the quarter, at which point China called a timeout.

The two teams then traded two two-pointers apiece, leaving China 48-47 up.  China got back out to a 50-47 lead before the Aussies went on a mini rampage to lead 55-50

The Opals went to three-quarter time with a 55-52 lead.

Australia kept a step ahead of the Chinese early in the fourth term, and led 61-57 with seven minutes left.

Then Cambage hit a two-pointer, plus a point from the foul, to make it 64-57 and put China under the pump. Jackson then turned the screws with a three-pointer to make it 67-57 approaching the five-minute mark.

Australia led by 11 points, 71-60, with 2:27 remaining, and had booked a semi-final date with their greatest rivals.

Greg Prichard in London

Aussies beat Canada 72-63
5 August 2012 
With top spot of the group already secured by France in an earlier match, the Aussies beat Canada today to ensure they finish second in the group which would set up a quarter-final battle with China or Turkey pending results. 

Q1: The Opals got off to a blistering start opening up with the first 12 points of the game with tournament star Liz Cambage putting in eight herself before the Canadians got on the scoreboard. During the stretch the stifling Australian defence forced the Canadians to a lowly only 16% form the field.

By the time Cambage took a seat with four and half minutes to go she had 11 of the Opals 15 and the Australians were up 15-3.

Rachel Jarry extended the lead to 19-5 before taking a fall on the defensive end before getting taken off the court.

Jenna O’Hea produced a strong move to the basket drew Krista Phillips third foul with just under two minutes to go in the first before Kathleen Macleod weaved her way through the key to score a layup and push the lead to 17.

 Canadian captain Teresa Gabrielle ended the scoring for the quarter with a three pointer but the Aussies still held a dominant 24-10 quarter time lead.

Q2: The Australians 17 point lead was reinstated three minutes into the second quarter as O’Hea continued to look impressive driving to the basket.

Cambage then took her personal tally to 15 points as the Opals pushed the score to 33-14. The Canadians ensured they weren’t going to let the game blow out as they put in six of their own to have lead back to 13 and Carrie Graf a bit anxious as she called her team in for a chat midway through the second.

Shona Thorburn made it eight straight for the North Americans before Abby Bishop stopped the run with the scores at 35-22 with three minutes to go in the half. 

Both teams got cold from the field towards towards the end of the quarter with no further points being posted. Aussie captain Lauren Jackson committed her third foul with seconds to go before the break, forcing her coach to return her to the bench.   

Q3: After Canada opened the half with two free throws, Belinda Snell hit from downtown before Lauren Jackson moved her points total to double digits as she hit a free throw and a layup. The increase in production from the captain had her teamed pump but the Canadians weren’t going away.

A fastbreak saw Natalie Achonwa run the floor, score the layup and hit the bonus free throw before lead was down to eight at 41-33 as the Canadians began to believe they could match it with the world number two Aussies.

Sam Richards worked hard to draw the foul but couldn’t convert on her free throws as Jackson grabbed the rebound and  drive foul, hit one, Jackson rebound and captain showed frustration at not getting a call. Called to bench.

Batkovic restored the lead to ten with two from charity stripe but another mini-run from the Canadians saw them draw within four with two minutes to go before the final break.

Who else but Cambage stopped the run with another strong move inside before Alisha Tatham brought her side within a basket to the crowd’s delight.

Jarry gave the Opals a five point lead after a determined move to the rim saw her draw the foul and drain her free throws to see the scores at 47-42 at the final break, with the Aussies being held to three points in the quarter.

Q4: Cambage opened the scoring in the last to give her 19 before Belinda Snell hit a big three to give the Aussies another double digit advantage.

Kim Smith then brought the crowd alive as she a three of her own before teammate Thorburn brought the deficit to five.

Snell had caught fire though hitting another from beyond the arc as the scores moved to 55-47 with 5:32 on the clock.

Kim Smith began to heat up hitting back to back threes to reduce the lead to two at 55-53, before again Snell answered for Australia with a three of her own.

Following a Canadian free throw, Abby Bishop got an offensive rebound to hit the bank shot and push the lead back to six. Smith wasn’t letting the Opals get away though hitting a long range jumper with 2 minutes on the clock.

Jarry hit jumper of her own though before Courtnay Pilypaitis’s three for Canada caused coach Graf to call in her troops to the bench with 1:11 to go in the game and the score at 62-59.

The Canadians committed their fifth foul of the quarter and were thus in the penalty, sending Jackson to the stripe, hitting both to make it a five point game.

Jackson was again fouled in open play with 59.2 secs. on the clock draining both her shots from the line making it 66-59 game as the Canadians called a timeout.

A Jackson steal and then an intentional foul from Krista Phillips, her fifth, saw the Aussie captain again go to the line where she was again two from two from the line to move the lead to nine.

Smith hit two free throws and the Canadians continued to intentionally foul to keep them in the game as they hoped the Aussie would miss from the line. Jackson would not oblige though hitting both free throws again.

Gabrielle then hit a two as the scores were at 70-63, before O’Hea hit her two free throws to end the scoring and see Australia win 72-63.

Matt Bartolo in London

Opals bounce back
2 August 2012

The Australian women’s team have bounced back from a shock loss to France by beating Brazil in the third of their preliminary-round games, but they were made to work very hard in winning 67-61.

Brazil had lost each of their first two games, by 15 points to France and 10 to Russia. They came into this match needing to win to keep their hopes of making the quarter-finals alive, and they played with suitable desperation.

Opals star Suzy Batkovic said the Aussies had expected Brazil to be tough.

“We played Brazil in the lead-up and they’re emotional, they can get on a high from emotion and you just never know what to expect from them,” she said. “On any given day, any team can beat anybody, so it’s really important that we come out ready and prepared for any team, I think.”

Lauren Jackson said the Aussies would build on the win.

“Today was great for us confidence-wise, just to be able to get the win and try to get back on track,” she said. “We had some things going that we haven’t had in the last couple of games, so we’re pretty happy with that win. We definitely put up a huge fight.”

Jackson broke the alltime Olympic pointscoring record for women’s competition in this game. Lisa Leslie, of the US, held the record at 488, and Jackson began the game at 479. She scored 18 points, taking her total to 497.

Australia now have two wins and one loss, and are right back on track to qualify for the quarter-finals and hopefully set up another Olympic final with gold-medal favourites the USA. But they are going to have to improve in some key areas to make it that far.

Australia, ranked number two in the world, began the game strongly, with Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage scoring the first two baskets as the Opals led 2-0 and 4-2, but the world sixth-ranked Brazilians stuck at it and got a couple of leads themselves midway through the term, 7-6 and 10-8.

The Aussies began to get on top late in the quarter, and a two-pointer from Cambage followed by a three-pointer from Jackson to end the term gave them a 15-10 lead.

Apart from scoring the opening basket of the second quarter to momentarily cut the deficit to three points, Brazil weren’t able to make a dint in Australia’s advantage before halftime. The Aussies gradually extended their lead, with the Brazilians only making occasional inroads.

Belinda Snell, who landed the wonder shot from inside Australia’s own half that enabled the team to force overtime against France, was at it again from three-point territory in this game – although from a more regulation distance.

She bombed a three to allow the Aussies to go 18-12 up early in the third, and that effort was followed by Jackson making her height felt under the basket to take an offensive rebound and score, for 20-12.

Brazil tried hard to stay in touch, but getting near halftime the Aussies stretched their lead into double figures. Three straight baskets – from Kristi Harrower, Suzy Batkovic and Cambage – saw the Opals go from 25-18 to 31-18, a 13-point advantage they took to the main break.

One of the main plusses for Australia in the first half was the fact their big players kept out of foul trouble. Jackson and Cambage both fouled out in the fourth quarter of the team’s eventual overtime loss to France, but by halftime in this game Cambage had just one foul and Jackson none.

The scoring had been spread around among the Aussies in the first half, with Jackson and Cambage each contributing seven, and Batkovic, Abby Bishop and Samantha Richards four aapiece. Brazil had shot at just 17 per cent – six from 36.

But the Aussies made a sluggish start to the third quarter, and the Brazilians went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit back to just five points, 33-28.

Brazil’s smaller players were giving the Opals the run-around, and the Aussies had to up the intensity in a bid to match the suddenly frenetic pace.
Australia steadied, getting back out to a nine-point lead, 37-28, but eventually Brazil cut it to five again, 43-38. Batkovic made a big impression at that point, coming up with a couple of baskets and a free throw to be integral in forcing the lead back out to 10 points, 50-40.

At the end of the third the Aussies led 51-40, and the game so far had been a very tough workout for them.  It continued that way in the final quarter.

The Brazilians wouldn’t give in, and after trailing by as much as 12 they got as close as four points down, 65-61, with just 16.3 seconds left. Australia closed it out from there.

Greg Prichard

Opals suffer shock overtime
31 July 2012

Australia forced overtime via a wonder shot from Belinda Snell, but couldn’t go on to win a pulsating preliminary-round match against France at the Basketball arena on Day 3 of the Games.

Snell made a buzzer-beating three-pointer under enormous pressure from her own side of halfway to force OT at 65-65, but the French went on to win 74-70.

Australian star Suzy Batkovic described the loss as hugely disappointing, and said the Aussies had let themselves down at the defensive end.

“We would have been the favourites to win that,” Batkovic said. “I don’t think anyone would take France lightly, but it’s still a shock to the system to lose. But we still have a long way to go, and we’re going to have to learn from what happened today and improve.

“If it turns out to be the kick in the butt that we needed, this result might end up being a positive. We hurt ourselves at the defensive end, and we paid the price for that.”

 Australia had to do without superstar Lauren Jackson and Elizabeth Cambage for the overtime period after both of them fouled out in the fourth quarter.

Both teams had won their opening matches easily – Australia 74-58 over Great Britain and France 73-58 over Brazil – to set up a much-anticipated encounter that lived right up to expectations.

Australia controlled the game comfortably early in the first quarter, with Lauren Jackson scoring four points in the building of an 8-2 lead. Elizabeth Cambage came off the bench and quickly made it 10-2, but then it was France’s turn to make some impact.

Two three-pointers later, from Edwige Lawson-Wade and Celine Dumerc,  and the French had cut Australia’s lead to 10-8.

 The Aussies responded well, with Suzy Batkovic getting involved in the scoring with a pair of two-pointers to help take the lead to 14-11 at quarter-time, but the French had served notice that this was going to be a contest.

Australia kicked out to a seven-point lead early in the second quarter, with a two-pointer apiece from Jackson and Batkovic making it 18-11, but then came an awful period for the Aussies during which the French went on a 10-0 run to lead 21-18.

The rest of the term was tight, with the scores being levelled three times – at 23-23, 25-25 and 27-27 – before the French took a 28-27 lead to the half-time break. The Aussies had defended strongly on two French possessions late in the second, stopping the lead from increasing.

The first-half statistics told an interesting tale. Australia had come up with the better shooting percentage – 35 to 29 – but the French had countered that by taking far more shots (35 to 23) and making more of their three-point attempts  (2/6 to 0/7).

The third quarter opened with a frenzy of scoring. Australia immediately regained the lead with a three-pointer from Kristi Harrower, but the French took it straight back with a shot from outside the arc of their own.

The two teams kept answering baskets, with Australia going up 32-31, France 33-32, Australia 34-33 and France 36-34, but then the game blew out dangerously in France’s favour as they completed their second 10-0 run of the game to lead 43-34.

Australia weren’t doing nearly well enough in defence, and the French kept out-shooting them to push their lead out to 13 points – 52 to 39. The Aussies were under enormous pressure now, and had to quickly find an answer to the French charge if they were going to turn the game around and win.

Finally, the Aussies managed to stop the bleeding, and they did it in extraordinary style with a 12-0 run of their own to trail by just one point – 52 to 51 – with four seconds left in the term. After a time-out France failed to score, leaving them with that one-point lead going to the final break.

There were nervous times again for Australia immediately the final quarter began, with the French scoring the first two baskets to get out to five-point lead, 56-51. But then Australia came back into it again, scoring two baskets of their own to be 56-55 down.

The pace of the game had soared, and the intensity was high. The result was going to come down to which players could hold their nerve and make the big shots against suffocating defence.

France scored to make it 58-55, but then the Aussies came back with two straight baskets to hit the lead for the first time since early in the third quarter, 59-58. France made it 59-59 as the game crept into the final three minutes and reached fever pitch in the crowd.

Australia made it 61-59, and then France got back in front, 62-61. With 81 seconds left, Jackson was called for an offensive foul. It was her fifth foul, and she went to the bench. France scored again, making it 64-61, and the Aussies took a time-out with 46.6 seconds left.

A turnover on their possession out of the time-out left the Aussies with their backs to the wall, but they stopped the French from scoring and eventually called a time-out with 17 seconds left. Then the French called a time-out. The tension was going through the roof.

Australia couldn’t come up with a basket, but then France went down the other end and missed. The French were then called for a foul at the Australian end, giving the Aussies two free throws as they were in the bonus.

Snell made the first free throw, but missed the second, leaving the French up 64-62. Australia then had to foul, and with 3.3 seconds left France made one free throw. Snell had no alternative but to try a long shot from just on her own side of halfway – and it went in off the backboard for a three-pointer on the buzzer to make it 65-65 and force overtime.

But the Aussies never got to the outright lead in the the overtime period, and when they trailed 72-70 as the clock ticked down a turnover and subsequent foul sealed their fate. France made both free throws to lead 74-70 with just 3.9 seconds left, and that was how the score finished.

Greg Prichard in London


Opals take out first round clash
29 July 2012

After an emotional 48 hours that has seen Opals team captain Lauren Jackson lead the whole Australian Olympic Team into the start of the Games, the Opals have notched up a scrappy victory of hosts Great Britain.

Despite making their first ever Olympic appearance and not having the star-filled line-up of the Australian team, Great Britain made the Opals work for their 74-58 victory.

“I think Great Britain are going to cause a few upsets,” Jackson said after the match. “Defensively they are very polished and I think that rattled us a little in the second half.”

Arguably one of the world’s best basketball coaches, Australian Tom Maher has moulded a strong British team from a country that does not even boast a strong national league. With Maher having coached the majority of the Opals throughout their careers, having him on the bench was a clear advantage for the Brits, and it showed with Liz Cambage and Jenna O’Hea running into early foul trouble.

 “He took her out of the game early,” Jackson said of Maher’s tactics to lessen the impact that the imposing six foot eight Cambage would have had on the game.

With head coach Carrie Graf removing Cambage from the game early to avoid further fouls, Jackson was forced to step up – and she relished the opportunity, ending the game as top point scorer on 18 points.

“Lizzy’s been a predominant scorer for us in the past few weeks,” Jackson said of her teammate’s dominant performance at recent internationals. “I feel like she has taken the load off me lately. Tonight I got back into my own game [as a scorer]. But we need her [Cambage] to get her points, get her shots up.”

It was no surprise that 20-year-old Cambage was targetted and it was very reminiscent of Sydney 2000 when then rising star Lauren Jackson was the opposition’s main aim. Cambage however was unfazed by her shaky start to Olympic competition and excited to move on to the next round matches.

“[It was a] bit of ants in the pants!,” Cambage said of her early fouls. “It was the ref’s first game and my first game and we are all getting to know each other,” she added with a light-hearted laugh.

Of the Opals uncharacteristic messy play, Cambage was optimistic that it was early Games jitters and nothing more, certainly nothing to worry about.

“I don’t think we were rusty I think it was more nerves. It would be impossible for us to be rusty we have been together for so long and played so many games.

“I know I had so many nerves, I thought I was going to throw up when the jump ball went up. I had butterflies like razorblades but it was amazing”

The Opals now have a day’s rest before facing France on Monday.

To read the quarter by quarter match report, click here

Alice Wheeler