All the analysis from the Australian Opals’ colossal 123 – 57 win against the Philippines, in the first game of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.
1. Australia’s insane depth make them a world class team
When Liz Cambage and Kelsey Griffin announced they would be unavailable for this tournament, ‘depth’ is not a word one would necessarily have associated with the Opals. Especially considering Cambage was the key force in their 2018 FIBA World Cup silver medal, and Griffin the 2017 Asia Cup MVP.
Yet with the notable inclusion of 2019 WNBA ‘Most Improved’ Leilani Mitchell along with Rebecca Allen and Stephanie Talbot, Australia negated any concept of a ‘weak link’ against the Philippines.
Rolling through rotations, Australia’s game style did not change with each player having a scoreboard impact. For the Philippines, this meant they struggled to find an obvious weak link to exploit.
2. Rebounds are king!
If you weren’t able to watch the match, just have a look at the rebound statistics to get an idea of how the four quarters evolved.
In a spectacular one-sided affair, Australia amassed 70 rebounds, while the Philippines took a lowly 19.
Australia used their substantial height advantage to claim a myriad of offensive and defensive rebounds, converting relatively easily. This essentially fostered the Opal’s mammoth lead.
The unforeseen rebound dominance from Australia crushed the Philippines in all areas of the court. Such big jumps and crashing bodies from the Opals left their opponents with little choice but to try and compete in other areas.
This match truly demonstrated the importance of the rebound. It’s one of the first skills junior basketballers learn. Yet it’s game-changing abilities should not be dismissed on the world stage, and will be an important asset for the Opals throughout the tournament.
3. Complacency = Danger!!
The mammoth win will be a great confidence boost for the Opals players. However, it is vital they don’t become mentally complacent going forward.
As the game continued, it was evident Australia lifted their foot off the pedal slightly, allowing the Philippines to play with a little more freedom. Yet, this mindset will be relatively ineffective in coming matches.
Overconfidence could be easily exploited, as the Opals go on to play more difficult opposition, including New Zealand tomorrow night.
While Australia won tonight’s match with relative ease, they were by no means perfect. With their sights firmly set on the gold medal, if Australia are to topple champion sides such as Japan and China, perspective is key.