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Aussies overhaul Japan in thriller

12 August 2016

Australia staged one of the great comebacks in Olympic basketball history, overcoming a 16-point fourth quarter deficit to down Japan 92-86.

Centre Liz Cambage scored an Australian Olympic record 37 points in the win. Cambage had 16 points in the fourth quarter including a stretch where she scored 12 straight points as Australia stunned Japan.

The game remained on a knife edge until the final minute.  With the scores locked at 84-84, Erin Phillips' free throw gave Australia the lead.  After missing the second one shot from the line, Australia secured the offensive rebound and captain Penny Taylor hit a three-pointer to extend Australia's lead to four points and Japan could not recover. 

Leilani Mitchell added 18 points and seven assists and Taylor had 13 points.

Both teams shot the ball well, with Australia converting at 55 per cent.

"I don't care how many points I got as long as we won," said a relieved Cambage.

"I'm not happy with that game. I don't like comebacks - they're stressful. But we stayed together as a team."

Cambage said the Japanese were difficult opponents.

"What they lack in height they make up in speed. They really brought it to us," she said.

"They really outran us in the first half but we all pulled our heads in and got it done."

Australia is now guaranteed to advance from Group A as the number one seed going into the quarter-final round. 

The Aussies close out the group stage against Belarus on Saturday. 

Kevin Diggerson

olympics.com.au

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