Aussies rout Venezuela at Rio test event
17 January 2016
BASKETBALL: Australia have claimed their second straight win to open the Rio 2016 Test Event.
Australia vs Venezuela
The Australian women's basketball team have won their second game in as many nights at the Olympic test event in Brazil, defeating an inexperienced Venezuela 104-24.
Both Cayla Francis (15 points, 14 rebounds) and Nat Burton (15 and 13) recorded double-doubles while Abby Bishop (13 and eight) and Suzy Batkovic (nine and 10) fell just short.
Venezuela jumped out to an early four-point lead but evened things up at 8-8 midway through the first quarter before going on a scoring rampage.
The Aussies asserted their dominance by finishing the term on a 19-0 run which extended to a 45-3 run by halftime.
"They are a pretty young team and not very big," coach Brendan Joyce said.
"They can be tough games to play sometimes as you can switch off and go up and down but I thought we did well in playing the right way both offensively and defensively."
Joyce was able to tinker with his line-ups - as he did against Argentina on Saturday night - and give every available player court time.
Joyce said his team was guilty of complacency in the early going but was happy with the way they turned things around.
"We saw that Brazil had beaten them by 71 points ... the focus did improve though and even the players I subbed out came back and played better," he said.
Australia's final game of the test event on Monday (AEDT) comes against the host nation Brazil, in what is expected to be a much tighter game.
Australia vs Argentina
The Australian women's basketball team have beaten Argentina 87-37 in their opening game of the Rio test event.
Designed to give Australia a feel of the Olympic host country as well as give the team a hit-out against international competition, coach Brendan Joyce was able to rotate through almost his entire squad.
The only player that did not receive court time was Tessa Lavey, with tightness in her hamstring forcing her to miss the contest.
The Aussies shot out of the blocks with a 9-0 run, leading by 18 at quarter-time.
They extended the margin in each following period, shooting 44 per cent from the field and restricting Argentina to 26 per cent shooting, a statistic that particularly pleased Joyce.
"Our defence was very good, I did not actually expect it to be that good. We had only two training camps before the game but I was happy with our execution," he said.
Joyce was able to give every player at least nine minutes of court time while no player exceeded more than 24 minutes.
Suzy Batkovic led all scorers with 16 points and 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes while Katie-Rae Ebzery (11 points), Bec Allen (ten points, nine rebounds) and Nat Burton (11 points, six rebounds and two blocks) also reached double-figures.
Erin Phillips, playing her first game since suffering a knee injury in the WNBA late last year, shook off any cobwebs with eight points and seven assists, sharing the point guard duties with Leilani Mitchell who added another eight assists.
The Aussies will back up with another performance on Sunday morning (AEDT), facing the inexperienced Venezuela team before a clash with the host country, Brazil, on Monday morning.