Gems take two despite injuries...
The Australia Gems scored their second win in as many nights when they took on the New Zealand Tall Ferns (JTF's) in the FIBA Oceania Championships at Palmerston North on Saturday.
It was certainly not one way traffic as the Junior Tall Ferns despite giving away several centimtetres in average height ancd considerable international experience, showed they were not to be cowed by the Gems and were definitely not overawed.
With New Zealand teams increasingly taking part in competitions in Australia and some members of the JTF's honing their skills on Australian courts, there was an air of familiarity about some of the one-on-ones.
The cause of the Australians was not helped by losing the services of captain Kerryn HARRINGTON, three minutes before the end of the first quarter. Harrington took no further part in the Championship and will undergo examination back in Austalia for knee ligament damage.
Less than a minute later, the Gems' Ashleigh Stonehouse left the game with a knee problem but made a reappearance in the third period.
At this time in proceedings, there was very much a 'game still in play' as the Gems held a very slender 18 to 16 lead. They went on to build on that in the final minutes of the quarter and went to the break with a 27 to 20 lead.
The second period was an even affair, the Gems sinking 16 points and the JTF's 15 - not what they needed if they were going to break open the hold the Gems had on the game.
As they had done in previous encounters, the Gems coaching staff used the half time break to great effect and when the teams returned to the court for the third period, the Gems outpointed their JTF rivals 23 points to 14 to go to the final break ahead 66 to 49. The JTF's clawed back a few in the final period (JTF's 17, Gems 11) to finish with a 79 to 66 scoreline.
Gems coach Chambers was given something to work on in game 3 as her team shot an unimpressive 43% from the field and committed 17 turnovers and 23 fouls. However, by recording their second win over the JTF's they had effectively won the FIBA Ocenaia Championship for U-18 Women and qualified for next year's FIBA World CHampionship for U-19 Women in Chile.
In today's game the Gems' Rebecca Cole lead all scorers with 21 points while team mate Madeleine Garrick was next best with 16. New Zealand's Terai Sadler on 14 points made the biggest contribution for the JTF's. The only other JTF to record double digit points was Sheraton Flood on 10.
The Oceania Championship will wrap up on Sunday with the third and final game at 1.00 pm and a medal ceremony scheduled for 4.30 pm.
A full statistical analysis of the game can be found by clicking on the match statistics button under the Fixtures and Results tab.
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