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Australia continue their gold standard with FIBA U17 Women's Oceania Championship

GUAM (FIBA U17 Women’s Oceania Championship 2017) – Australia has taken out the FIBA U17 Women’s Oceania Championship 2017 Gold Medal over Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand.

New Zealand pushed Australia early, ending the first period with a 23-22 lead. However, Izzy Bourne and the Sapphires were able to put the foot down and finish the game 81-60.

Bourne says that stepping up their focus compensated for their insufficiency of physicality in the first quarter.

“We had to make adjustments to the physicality. We haven't really been pushed around on the court as much this far in the tournament, so we just had to step up our physicality.”

Bourne recorded the game high 20 points. With this performance, she contributed to nearly a quarter of her team's points.

“For my first time representing Australia, it's amazing. I think we played awesome as a team and we really played well together to get that gold.”

Bourne finished the tournament averaging 19 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. She was also one of three Australian's selected to the tournament All-Star 5. The final selection included Miela Goodchild (AUS), Charlisse Leger-Walker (NZL), Isabelle Bourne (AUS) and Frances Ropati (SAM). Shyla Heal was named the Championship game MVP with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists but the greatest part of her performance was her defensive effort on Leger-Walker.

Australia has now qualified for the FIBA U18 Women's Asia Championship 2018. Here they will compete for four (4) available qualification spots to the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2019.

 “We're really excited to be going to the Asia championships, but we still gotta work hard. We just need to prepare for the harder physicality and I think we'll be alright.”