Having taken up basketball at the age of 8, Samantha Richards spent over 20 years working towards her dream of competing at the Olympics. She began her WNBL career in 1998 and won WNBL titles in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. Richards made her senior national debut in 2007, playing in the team that won the Oceania Championship. Having played in Poland in 2008 she was selected to compete at the 2010 World Championships where Australia finished fifth. Richards’ 2011-2012 WNBL form saw her finally selected for an Olympic team at the age of 29.
In London the Australians lost a preliminary game against France in overtime which saw them finish second in their pool. This meant that after defeating China in the quarter-final (75-60), they faced the USA earlier than expected for a berth in the gold medal match.
The Opals fell to the Americans 86-73 and lined up against Russia in the race for bronze. Richards and the Aussies came out on top 83-74 to continue the Opals’ strong Olympic record. The USA went on to win gold with France taking the silver medal.