18 - 26
July 2015
Team (Australia)
Game Report
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Gems hold off fightback from Spain to land third place again

CHEKHOV (2015 FIBA U19 Women's World Championship) - Australia managed to claim the last step of the podium for a second time in a row after fending off a comeback by Spain to complete a 69-62 success at the 2015 FIBA U19 Women's World Championship.

Turning point: Off the back of a rampant start, Australia were ahead 27-9, but almost had their massive 18-point advantage wiped out by their opponents. With the pressure really on, Tahlia Tupaea came up with some big plays in crunch time that turned the tide back in favour of the Gems. She hit a big triple with just under four minutes to go when her team had dried up offensively, she dished out a nice assist for Alexandra Sharp inside the last minute for a killer baseline shot by her colleague and then came up with a key steal to finish the job.

Stats Don't Lie: Perhaps rather predictably, Spain were out-muscled in the rebounding department 59-40.

Game Hero: Aside from the decisive late contributions from Tupaea, Alanna Smith really brought it having been quiet in the Quarter-Finals. She rounded off a fine effort with a big 20 points and six rebounds, while Sharp offered an essential cameo performance of 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bottom Line: Australia were dominant in the opening stages as they made use of their superior physical power and intensity. With one knee on the canvas, Spain hit back impressively to show real guts, but they missed too many lay-ups when they had Australia wobbling and had they managed to pull level or move in front, things may have been different down the stretch. Spain never looked that convincing throughout the tournament and perhaps did well to challenge for a podium spot. As for the Gems, another third-place finish was a positive - although perhaps they will also agonise over how they fell flat in the Semi-Final against Russia.