The Opals have made the perfect start to their Olympic Games preparations by upsetting women’s world No.1 the United States 74-60 in Beijing last night.
The world champion Australians claimed victory in their opening game at the Good Luck Beijing 2008 basketball test event after coming from two points behind at the final break to steamroll the Americans 26-10 down the stretch.
Both teams were missing their best players, with the win speaking volumes for the depth of Australia’s talent pool.
Beijing hopeful Rohanee Cox led Australia with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists and received good support from world champion Opals Hollie Grima (13 points, eight rebounds) and Erin Phillips (12 points, eight rebounds).
Three-time Olympic Gold Medallist Lisa Leslie top scored for the United States with 17 points.
“It’s a terrific way to start the tournament,” Opals coach Jan Stirling said.
“Any win against the USA is good for us.
“We locked them down in the fourth quarter and played fantastic defence and we dug in and got the win.
“But what I told our players after the game is that if we lose to China tomorrow this win doesn’t count for anything. We have to back it up.”
Australia’s youngest player, 19-year old Abby Bishop, missed the game with a corked thigh sustained during a training session this morning.
Australia will face host nation China tomorrow night.