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Opals demolish Argentina at World Cup

Elizabeth Cambage of Australia reacts during the Women's Gold Medal Game on day 10 of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Convention Centre on April 14, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
23rd September, 2018
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Australia remain unbeaten at the Women’s Basketball World Cup following an 84-43 demolition of Argentina, with Liz Cambage again the star.

The Opals made it two from two to open the tournament with Cambage scoring the first 10 points of the match against Argentina on Sunday, and a game-high 24 points in total, to go with six rebounds in 18 minutes.

Naturalised American guard Sami Whitcomb (16 points, five assists) also showed off her long-range shooting and defensive prowess while 19-year-old Ezi Magbegor impressed with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Australia’s first-half performance was far from polished as they committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter alone but a devastating 23-0 scoring run in the third quarter blew out the scoreline.

With the Opals dominating the contest, coach Sandy Brondello was able to rest her star centre during the second half in preparation for their final group match.

Australia can lock up top spot in Group B with a victory against Turkey on Tuesday night, after they also won their opener against Nigeria.

A first-place finish for Australia in their group would mean a matchup with tournament favourites USA would most likely not occur until the gold medal game.

It became obvious early that Argentina had no answer for the height and strength of Cambage as she single-handedly built a 10-0 lead.

A three-pointer from Andrea Boquete Manna finally opened the scoring for Argentina but five quick points to Whitcomb helped Australia close the quarter ahead 21-5.

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The Opals looked on song in the second quarter with Rebecca Allen stepping into a three-pointer and Magbegor and Alex Bunton scoring down low as the lead grew 30-7.

Argentina tried to counter but Cayla George’s three-pointer sent the Opals into the main break up 40-13.

Argentina came out firing to start the second half, outscoring the Opals 11-5 as they connected three times from long range.

But the Opals then refocused to dominate the rest of the third quarter, running off 23 consecutive points to establish an unassailable 68-24 lead.