Preview >> USA Women vs. Australia
Sept. 29 • Ostrava, Czech Republic
TV: Live on NBA TV, 2:15 p.m. (EDT)
In the 2010 World Championship
Australia secured Group A's No. 1 seed with a 3-0 record in preliminary round play. In a 72-47 win over Canada, Kristi Harrower and Lauren Jackson tallied 13 points apiece. The following evening in a 83-59 victory against Belarus, Belinda Snell led with 17 points as Harrower and Jackson, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, once again tallied 13 points each. A different group led in a 91-69 rout of China, including 16 points from Penny Taylor, 14 from both Jenna O'Hea and Hollie Grima and 13 from Elizabeth Cambage.
Australia continued its winning ways in the second round, opening with a 93-64 win over Greece that featured a 20-point, 12-rebound performance from Jackson, 20 points from Cambage and 12 from Taylor. The following night, as the Aussies pulled away from France in the fourth quarter for an eventual 62-52 win, Jackson tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds, Taylor added 18 points and 9 nine boards and Grima finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Sept. 23: Australia 72, Canada 47 • Stats
Sept. 24: Australia 83, Belarus 59 • Stats
Sept. 25: Australia 91, China 68 • Stats
Sept. 27: Australia 93, Greece 54 • Stats
Sept. 28: Australia 62, France 52 • Stats
A Little History
The reigning World Champion, Australia claimed the gold medal with a two-game sweep of New Zealand in the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship to secure its place in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Overall, in 12 World Championship appearances, Australia is 53-58 (.582) and has won a medal in each of the last three Worlds, including bronze medals in 1998 and 2002 and gold in 2006, when it finished with a perfect 9-0 record.
Against the USA, the Americans are up 8-0 in the series, with the last World Championship meeting coming in the 2002 semifinals, when the USA won 71-56.
Players To Watch
American basketball fans surely will be familiar with Lauren Jackson, who has played with the WNBA's Seattle Storm since 2001. In 2010, she was teammates with the USA's Sue Bird and Swin Cash in Seattle, where the trio captured the WNBA Championship. Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP and two-time WNBA Finals MVP, led all scorers at the 2006 (21.2 ppg. and 8.9 rpg.) and 2002 FIBA World Championships (23.1 ppg. and 5.4 rpg.).
Australia also features Penny Taylor, who collected MVP honors after the '06 Worlds when she averaged team second-bests of 18.0 ppg. and 5.4 apg., while dishing out 3.1 apg. She also is teammates with the USA's Diana Taurasi on the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA season.
Much like Jackson was in 1997, young Elizabeth Cambage was brought into the Opals line-up following the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship last summer. Named to the All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team after averaging a tournament-best 20.4 ppg., the 6-8 center also shot a tournament-leading 62.7 percent from the field and rebounded at a clip of 6.8 rpg.
Thus far in the 2010 World Championship, as expected, Jackson, Cambage and Taylor are Australia's top performers. Jackson leads in both scoring and rebounding with 13.0 ppg. and 8.0 rpg. in 19.0 mpg.; Cambage is the team's second leading scorer with 10.2 ppg., but also leads the team in turnovers with 3.8 tpg. in 15.0 mpg.; and Taylor is averaging 10.0 ppg. in 15.6 mpg.
Veteran Hollie Grima (8.0 ppg., 6.2 rpg., 24.8 mpg.) and newcomer Jenna O'Hea
(8.0 ppg., 22.4 mpg.) lead the team in playing time.
The Scouting Report What are some keys to the game for the USA? Do you think this U.S. team is ready for the
tough matchup that is Australia?
USA Assistant Coach Doug Bruno (DePaul University)
What do you expect to see out of Australia?
After playing in the finals, Lauren Jackson, the MVP of the WNBA is back with Australia, and she's one of the best players in the world, so that changes everything that they do. She's just a great player. She can take you outside, she can take you inside and she's just got a great presence. Penny Taylor is one of the toughest players in women's basketball as well. So, that's a one-two punch that is very, very difficult to deal with. And their other players Jenna O'Hea, Belinda Snell, Kristi Harrower at the point position, and we're not even talking yet about the 6-8 new phenom on the scene in women's basketball, Elizabeth Cambage, these players make them a very, very good team. They are the defending World Champions.
Defensively, they are a very good transition team, and we can't give up easy buckets in transition. We can't let their controllable guards penetrate against us; that's huge. Taylor is going to be tough to guard, but the other guards that are containable, need to be contained. They are a relentless rebounding team, and we need to take care of that on the defensive end as well. Offensively, they are a very physical team, and they are going to hit us hard. We have to get into our rhythym offensively and we have to move the basketball.
I like what we've seen here since we've gotten to Ostrava. We have been getting better with each game. We've not been tested to the point that Australia will test us, but we have seen progress and the whole idea is to keep getting better. Since we don't get to practice, you have to be getting better on the fly, and I like the way our USA team has been getting better on the fly in the games that we've played.
What are some keys to the game for the USA?
Do you think this U.S. team is ready for the
tough matchup that is Australia?