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Olympics: Opals Hub

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

Match 1 vs Belgium

Looking it bounce back from a disappointing Rio campaign, the Opals have work to do following a 15-point defeat to Belgium - who were making their Olympic debut in women's basketball.

The match was evenly poised heading into the final period, with Australia narrowly leading 57-56, but they capitulated to lose the final period 13-29.

Ezi Magbegor lead the way with 20 points. Whether the absence of Liz Cambage haunts the Opal waits to be seen.

They'll be looking to recover when they take on China at 10:00pm AEST on Friday night.


Match 2 vs China

A contentious foul call with 0.6 seconds remaining robbed the Opals of a chance to steal victory from China in overtime.

China ultimately prevailed 76-74, and looked like they would cruise to victory, but two clutch three-pointers from Jenna O'Hea in the final seconds tied things up.

The game looked destined for overtime, but Yueru Li was fouled in the eyes of the official that was furthest away from the play, sending her to the line where she duly nailed both free throws.

In her first Olympics, Ezi Magbegor lead the way for Australia with 15 points.

It was a cruel and heartbreaking loss for the Opals, who now need to smash Puerto Rico when they face-off at 10:00pm AEST on Monday night, and rely on other results to potentially sneak into the quarter finals.

Match 3 vs Peurto Rico

The Opals equation was simple: win by 25 or more and they qualify for the quarter finals.

And a slender 45-44 half-time lead meant they still needed to win the second half by at least 24.

Hopes of making it past the group stage were evaporating by the minute, but a never say die attitude thrust Australia to a 16-point advantage by the end of the third quarter.

With just two and a half minutes remaining, the lead was only 17. Cue one of the greatest scoring runs in Australian basketball history.

Marianna Tolo drained a two-pointer, Leilani Mitchell was accurate from three, Tess Lavey added two points on a fast break, before Leilani Mitchell took her nation over the 25-point mark with a two-pointer.

Jenna O'Hea went to the line with eight seconds left, sunk her first free throw to extend the lead to 27, but missed the second.

The door was ajar for Peurto Rico - who were playing to the 25-point mark as much as Australia - but they couldn't capitalise.

The Opals had scored 10 unanswered points to scrape into the knockout stages when they had no right to.

Regardless of what happens next, this team has etched themselves into Australian Olympic folklore.

Quarter Final vs USA

After the euphoric downing of Peurto Rico and subsequent quarter final berth, the Opals Olympic dream was brought to the dominant Team USA.

America cruised to victory in the end, prevailing 79-55, and were simply a cut above.

Leilani Mitchell lead the way for the Opals, scoring 14 points.

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