The Australian Opals women's basketball managed to book their spot at the 2016 Olympic Games by winning over the Tall Ferns with a 80 – 63 point victory. The Olympic Games will be held in Rio De Janeiro, where the Opals will face off against the best teams in the world.
Three Time Olympian Laura Hodges led her team to victory by scoring a total of 22 points as well as five rebounds throughout the night. Suzy Batkovic stood right by her side while scoring 15 points, while player Rachel Jarry managed to score nine points. On the other side of the court Micaela Cocks was the top scoring player for the Ferns with a total of 21 points with seven rebounds while her teammate Lisa Wallbutton managed to put in 10 points.
Both teams struggled to get points on the board early on in the game. It was a defence dominate game, with the ball going back and forth with very little baskets actually going in. Tall Ferns started off by dominating the game with their impressive defence that set the pace and prevented the Opals from putting any shots in, especially from long range. The first four points were scored by the Tall Ferns off of a few free throws, coming in at the three minute mark. The first quarter of the game ended with a tight 14 – 14 score, keeping it dead even and tensions high.
The Australian Opals, although off to a bad start, managed to take the lead by half time. Being led by Hodges, Jarry, and Batkovic, they were able to take a seven point lead which left the score at 40 – 33. They brought that energy into the third quarter which resulted in a growing lead and several fouls by the Tall Ferns who were trying to react to the intensive gameplay. Within just a few minutes of the third quarter the Tall Ferns had four fouls called against them, widening the lead for the Australian Opals.
After that is was all Opals. They scored shot after shot while the Tall Ferns were unable to put very many in. The victory was sealed with a final five points being put in by Hodges as the game wound down to an end, leaving an outstanding lead over the Tall Ferns.
The Opals are ranked the number two women's basketball team in the world for a reason, and they really showed off some muscle. They have won every Oceania basketball series for the past four decades, having their last series loss way back in 1974. Since 1996 the Opals have managed to win a medal in the Olympic Games and are looking to do it again this year in 2016. All of these medals have consisted entirely of bronze and silver, ranking only beneath the US women's basketball team. This year, things are looking hopeful and many are speculating that the Opals may have a good chance at taking home the gold.