Basketball women sweep test event in Brazil
18 January 2016
BASKETBALL: The Australian women's basketball team have plenty more to learn before this year's Olympics despite going undefeated at a test event in Rio, coach Brendan Joyce says.
The Australians completed a clean sweep of the three-game series with a 77-67 win over Brazil on Monday (AEDT), adding to dominant victories over Argentina and Venezuela.
They led from start to finish, with four players reaching double figures - topped by Leilani Mitchell (16 points) and Suzy Batkovic (15), with Cayla Francis adding 12 and Steph Talbot 10.
While pleased with their overall performance, Joyce was less than impressed with the 23 turnovers.
"Our defence was outstanding again from a team perspective but we did have some breakdowns which really displayed where we needed improvement," he told AAP.
"We could've been up a lot more. But in saying that, Brazil in Brazil, they want to put on a show.
"They were very very physical and were allowed to be physical. I think that was the cause of a lot of the turnovers."
Joyce said the team really missed the size and presence of star centre Liz Cambage, who is currently playing in China.
He believed the Opals would've undoubtedly won by a much bigger margin if Cambage or Marianna Tolo - who is on the comeback from injury - were playing.
"The Brazilians are pretty big ... but players coming into this team are going to assist us to combat that," he said.
"Realistically, a 10-point win with their crowd and on their home soil is a pretty big thing to come away with."
Joyce once again gave all his players time on court - bar Tessa Lavey, who tore her hamstring in the build up to the test event and sat out all three games.
The coach was particularly pleased to see Rebecca Allen, Erin Phillips and Rachel Jarry play well and emerge unscathed after lengthy injury layoffs.
"It's very tough, we only had three days to prepare to play together as a team," he said.
"But the positive thing was we got better.
"The girls got used to playing with each other, they developed chemistry. We'll just keep working on style of play.
"I'm pretty pleased to come away with the experience of playing at the Olympic venue."
The Opals will come together for another training camp a week after the WNBL finals, with the likes of Tolo, Penny Taylor and Tess Madgen expected to attend.