Sparked by skipper Tess Madgen, Australia has claimed the bronze medal at the women’s basketball Asia Cup with an 81-59 win over New Zealand in Sydney.
Asia Cup basketball
Gold medal game
Bronze medal game
Australia (Opals) 81 def New Zealand 59
With only three of their 2022 World Cup squad available, the Opals finished with a 4-2 record at the tournament, their only losses coming to finalists Japan and China.
Madgen set the tone in the play-off for bronze, scoring Australia’s opening five points after the Tall Ferns got the first bucket for their only lead of the game
She won player of the match award after scoring 14 points and providing five assists.
Backing up after their semi-final loss to China on Saturday night, Australia grabbed control of the game with a 9-0 run which set up a 22-14 quarter-time lead.
New Zealand fought hard but couldn’t get the deficit below six points despite Penina Davidson logging 19 points and 11 boards.
The Opals had five double-digit scorers headed by 19 from forward Alice Kunek, who reached double figures for the fifth time in six matches.
Forward Darcee Garbin, watched by her sister Sophie, who will represent Australia at the looming World Netball Championships, contributed 13 points in as many minutes.
As they have done throughout the tournament, forwards Anneli Maley and Keely Froling provided great hustle off the bench.
Maley racked up 11 points and as many rebounds while Froling added 10 points.
New Zealand suffered a blow soon after the tip-off when their Australian-born guard Tahlia Tupaea left the court clutching her left arm and sat out the remainder of the match.
In the gold medal game, China held off Japan in the final seconds to take the title with a 73-71 victory.