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Cambage and Opals break Spanish hearts to set up Final against USA
TENERIFE (FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018) - A monumental double-double (33 points and 15 rebounds) from Liz Cambage fired Australia to only their second-ever FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Final as the Opals outlasted hosts Spain 72-66 in an epic contest.
Turning Points - The momentum was completely with Spain at the end of the third quarter when they moved 58-50 ahead and the locals were sensing back-to-back Finals in the competition.
However, Australia scored the first nine points of the last period and it set the tone for the remainder of the game as they outscored the home side 22-8. Astou Ndour fouling out early was a pivotal moment and a big three-pointer by Cayla George from the corner with two minutes to play effectively sealed the deal for the Opals.
Stats Don't Lie - Spain were pounded on the glass and lost the battle of the boards by a huge 53-34. Australia also held their nerve from the line with 22 of 26 which was imperative.
Game Hero - Cambage looked largely unguardable yet again. As has been her habit throughout the competition, she got hot early, drew strength and energy from the boos of the crowd and had the last laugh with her spectacular stats line of 33 points and 15 rebounds and shot very efficiently, going 11 of 16 from the field.
The Bottom Line - Spain had the victory in their hands having done all the hard work after half-time to take an 8-point lead. But they came out cold at the start of the final quarter and lost their focus as their shortened frontcourt rotation struggled against the Cambage-inspired Opals. Spain will be kicking themselves and must now face Belgium to try and finish third, while the triumphant Australia march on. They won the title back in 2006 and have not been to the Final since. They were asked a big question in this game and to their credit, answered it.
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What They Said - "It was tough. We knew it was going to be a hard, hard 40 minutes going into this game and it was. They (Spain) are a group of superstars. We just came up with it in the end. We played our hearts out and left it on the court. I've always said 'screams from the haters got a nice ring to it'. That's the stuff that gets me going. I love it. I've so much respect for Spain. I love this city, I love this island, I love this country. They go hard for their country and I respect that." - Opals star, Liz Cambage.
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