08 - 11
February 2024
20 Isobel Borlase (AUS)
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Australia beat Serbia to finish undefeated in Belem

BELÉM (Brazil) – Australia swept through the 2024 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, defeating Serbia on Sunday, 75-73, to finish 3-0 in Belém.



The Opals had already punched their ticket to Paris 2024 on Saturday and sat team stalwarts Tess Magden and Lauren Jackson for this game.

Serbia fought tooth and nail but couldn’t close it, finishing the tournament with a 1-2 record.

Turning point: Sandy Brondello’s squad struggled through a slow first quarter where they found themselves down by 10 points, 22-12.

They bounced back from that point on, taking the lead before halftime on a pair of free throws from Marianna Tolo. The second half was a back-and-forth affair full of lead changes and hijinks until Ezi Magbegor, also at the charity stripe, gave Australia a lead they would never relinquish despite a valiant effort from Serbia that included a last-second halfcourt three-pointer from Angela Dugalic.

TCL Player of the Game: Isobel Borlase was one of 6 Australian players scoring in double digits in what was a true team effort.


The 19-year-old guard scored 5 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter to lead her country to victory. She added 4 assists, a pair of rebounds and a steal, shooting 2-5 from long range.

Marianna Tolo (13 points and 7 rebounds), Ezi Magbegor (11 points and 4 blocks) and Jade Melbourne, Bec Allen and Cayla George (10 points apiece) rounded out the balanced attack.

Yvonne Anderson (20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals) led the way for Serbia once again. The veteran point guard shot 7/12 from the field (6-8 at the line) and battled through cramps to lead her country to the promised land. 

She had plenty of help from Dragana Stankovic (16 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks), who made a series of clutch plays down the stretch.

Stats don’t lie: In a game that was only determined in the final minutes, the Australian defense tipped the scales, holding Serbia to just 37.5 percent from the field.

The Opals were also slightly better in the paint (34-28) and despite some lack of long-range accuracy of their own, they made more three-point buckets (5) than their opponent (3).

Serbia had a small edge on the boards (39-35), steals (12-5) and made free throws (22-18), underscoring how close the game was in the end.

Bottom line: Despite some key absences, Australia was far and away the best team of the tournament, sweeping their slate with victories over Brazil, Germany and Serbia.

In Paris this summer, the Opals will participate in their 8th consecutive Olympics and 10th in history. Their goal will be to get a 6th medal (first since 2012) and possibly their first-ever Olympic gold.

Serbia now awaits the result of Brazil vs. Germany, where they need the host country to beat the Europeans by at least 7 points to achieve the objective of going to their 3rd consecutive Olympics.


They said: “We had an excellent beginning of the game on the contrary of the first two games against Germany and Brazil and then we had a mostly bad second quarter. We came back after the break and we were better on some moments of the third and fourth quarters but you cannot miss against a team like Australia.” – Serbia head coach Marina Maljkovic. 

“I think this game is the type of game that decided our destiny. The game was in our hands, and we could do a lot with a win, but yesterday was died in the court for that win and we still had a chance. First quarter was the game everyone knows us for, we fought until the end, we were aggressive, but I think their experience was the key thing in the end.” – Serbia power forward Mina Djordjevic. 

“I’m really happy. It’s really good to play those types of games. Intense, we were down a few key players that had little (nicks) here. We didn’t have a great start but I’m really proud of our effort. We were intentional. We played well together, and our experienced players certainly helped with the composure, but I’m really impressed with our young kids we threw out there. The only way to learn is through experience and that’s going to help us as we move forward. We achieved our goal. Our goal was to get the ticket to Paris.” – Australia head coach Sandy Brondello.

“I think we’ve had some really great battles against Serbia the last few years and I’m really happy to come away with 3 big wins this tournament. It’s really great to have games like that. It really builds resilience and team character. And as Sandy said, for the young ones to get that experience and be a part of pressure moments. It’s really exciting to see them come to the table and deliver.” – Australia forward Cayla George.