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Australian Opals vs United States of America
Women's FIBA World Cup, final. Time: Fulltime'
|Santiago Martin Arena, San Cristobal de La Laguna, Spain|
The Australian Opals will put it all on the line in the gold medal match of the women’s basketball World Cup when they take on the world’s number one team, the USA. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 5am (AEST).
The Opals has it easy across their first four games of the tournament as they claimed victories over Nigeria, Argentina, Turkey and then China in the quarter-finals.
Playing hosts of the tournament Spain was a whole different challenge yesterday though in the semi-finals and there were times during the third and fourth quarter where they looked well and truly out of the fight.
It came after a dominant start which had the Opals bolting away to a 15-point lead during the first quarter, but they lost their way on offence and only a run sparked by Liz Cambage got them over the line.
Cambage herself will need to be careful in the final game after running into foul trouble during the fourth quarter against Spain, picking up a technical and letting emotions get the better of her.
Cambage is the key and has been arguably the best player at the tournament so far, averaging almost 30 points per game and pulling down rebounds like no one else is on the floor.
The USA are the best team in the world for a reason though.
After taking out the Olympics in 2016, they have also made the final undefeated without a challenge. They were pushed at times in the semi-final by Belgium, but ultimately came out of it with a 16-point lead.
Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart were the keys and will be again against Australia, but between Brittney Griner and Tina Charles, they need to find a way to shut down Australia in the paint.
The Opals will be gallant and brave, as they were in getting past Spain yesterday, but the USA are the world No.1 for a reason and should come away with a tight win when the pressure is on during the fourth quarter, unless Cambage can keep her emotions in check and play the game of her life.
USA by 6.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the women’s basketball World Cup final from 5am (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Tip-off: 5am (AEST)
Venue: Santiago Martin Arena, San Cristobal de La Laguna, Spain
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now
Referees: Antonio Conde (Spain), Jung Yu (Chinese Taipei), Yohan Rosso (France)
Point guard: Katie Ezbery
Shooting guard: Cayla George
Small forward: Steph Talbot
Power forward: Bec Allen
Centre: Liz Cambage
Bench: Jenna O’Hea, Tess Madgen, Alanna Smith, Alex Bunton, Ezi Magbegor, Tess Lavey, Samantha Whitcomb
Point guard: Sue Bird
Shooting guard: Diana Taurasi
Small forward: Breanna Stewart
Power forward: Brittney Griner
Centre: Tina Charles
Bench: Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Layisha Clarendon, Morgan Tuck, A’Ja Wilson, Elena Delle Donne, Nneka Ogwumike