The New Zealand women’s basketballers were thumped 109-50 by Australia in their Commonwealth Games semi-final to night.
The Australians demonstrated why they are red-hot favourites to take the gold medal with a dominating performance. They enjoyed a massive height advantage, which helped them achieve a 35-45 rebounding superiority, and also shot the three-ball at an exceptional 60% (15 from 25).
New Zealand’s handy 35% (9 from 26) from beyond the arc paled in comparison, as did a turnover count of 21-9.
Despite the heavy defeat, New Zealand coach Guy Molloy felt his team would be ready for the bronze medal game against Canada on Saturday evening.
Key player Micaela Cocks echoed Molloy’s sentiments.
“Guy has put a really good system in place and we all believe in it. It was difficult tonight against one of the top teams in the world, but we are not going to let that affect us going into the game tomorrow,” she said.
“We know what we’ve done in the past few Games and we’ve seen Canada, so we know we can win.”
Kalani Purcell with a triple and Charlisse Leger-Walker with a jump shot and finger roll lay-up kept New Zealand in touch early on, but Australia had a 17-7 lead inside the first five minutes.
Cocks rattled in a three, but Liz Cambage dominated for Australia and her 9 points helped Australia to a 25-12 first quarter lead.
By halftime, Australia were head 53-28, partly due to a sizzling 8 from 14 three-point shooting display.
The Australian lead blew out to 83-34 at three-quarter time and Australia continued their dominance in the closing stages.
Molloy reflected: “There were two games going on tonight. One was the scoreboard contest, which was always going to be difficult, and the other was the internal game. There were some measures we wanted to achieve against a top echelon team. Some we didn’t do too bad, like our ball movement and our shooting from the perimeter.”Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Micaela Cocks Kalani Purcell Charlisse Leger-Walker Guy Molloy Basketball