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Australia courts gold medal chance

21 Mar 06 07:11

Australia is in the play-off for the Women’s Basketball gold medal after beating Nigeria by 56 points in the Semi Final.

Having led from the beginning, the Aussies were never troubled in the 105-49 win. It took the Nigerians almost half of the opening period to score their first points, and by then Australia already had a sizeable lead. 

Australian coach Jan Stirling is confident of having a full list to choose from for the gold medal match. Australia’s point guard Tully Bevilaqua did not play due to an ankle injury, but should start in the next game.

“She could've played this match, and wanted to play, but we need her to be as close to 100 per cent as she can be for the gold medal game,” said Stirling.

Lauren Jackson scored 37 points, Laura Summerton finished with 17 points and Katrina Hibbert scored 11. Summerton commented that just playing for Australia is a great motivation for the team.

“It's always a pleasure putting on the green and gold,” she said.

For Nigeria, Mobolaji Akiode and Funmi Ojelabi both scored 10 points while Ezinne James and Rashidat Sadiq tried hard against the Australian offence.

Coach Scott Nnaji conceded that his side was young and lacked height, but was looking ahead to the next game - the bronze medal play-off.
 
"We have had no hard competition before the Games and will benefit for tomorrow,'' he said.

England will meet New Zealand in the second Semi Final tonight. The winner will play Australia and the loser will meet Nigeria in the play-off for the bronze.

India earlier defeated Malta; coach Abdul Khan was pleased with his team’s performance, saying, "If we can finish fifth it will be a very big achievement for us and I will be a very happy man."

Maltese coach Santino Coppa, was philosophical about his team's loss: "Sometimes we beat them; sometimes they beat us."

Basketball competition at the Multi Purpose Venue (Melbourne Park) runs from 21 to 24 March.

For more results, visit the Basketball Schedule and Results section of this Website.

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