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Aussies take second straight tight win

8 August 2016

BASKETBALL: The Australian women’s basketball team has defeated Turkey 61-56 in their second Group A match at the Youth Arena in Deodora.

It was a tight tussle, with Turkey leading until the third quarter when the Aussies hit the front to take out a 61-56 victory, thanks to a commanding performance from Liz Cambage.

The 24-year-old led the scoring with 22 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while teammates Katie Rae Ebzery and Leilani Mitchell both scored 11 points.

Cambage said it was another hard fought match, after a close win over Brazil yesterday to make it two wins from two games.

“We grinded out the whole game,” she said.

“We get to rest up tomorrow and then we take on France.

“I’m a little bit haunted by London. We lost a game in overtime to France. I might have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder coming into this game.

“Every game’s tough; there are no easy games. We can’t just relax. It’s the best of the best here."

When asked about being a target on the court, Cambage laughed.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot of attention but I’ve got a lot of attention my whole life. I’m used to it; I’m a big target."

It was a close first quarter; a physical one. After 10 minutes, Turkey led Australia 15-12.

While the crowd may have been small, ears were left ringing.

Speedster Tessa Lavey dominated the second-quarter for Australia, driving the ball down the court on numerous occasions and bagging a three-pointer, while Ebzery shot two three pointers.

At half-time, the nailbiter continued with Turkey continuing to lead 29-26.

There was plenty of entertainment, too, just like at any world-class sporting event – “dance cam”, “smile cam” and during half-time entertainment a traditional Brazilian samba drum band. The footwork of the dancers rivalled that of the players and it was hard to tell who the crowd liked more.

Towards the end of the third quarter Australia hit the lead but it was far from comfortable. At just 5”5’, point guard Mitchell had several good runs of the floor helping Australia to narrowly break in front 43-41.

By the fourth quarter, it was Cambage dominating the court, netting a massive 10 points.

And just like the interactive crowd entertainment of “muscle cam” during a time-out, the Aussies started to flex theirs on the court.

The Australians will take on France in their third pool match at 12.15pm on Tuesday August 9 (1.15am Wednesday August 10 AEST).

Sophie Onikul

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