Australia Take Home Bronze at the 3×3 Youth Olympics
Australia have put behind the heartache of an overtime loss in the Semi-Finals to defeat China and win bronze at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games 3×3 tournament in Buenos Aires.
Following almost a two-week campaign in Argentina, the Aussies came up against France in the Semi-Final for their first game on the last day of competition.
While they had displayed a significant edge on the boards throughout the tournament, Australia struggled early inside against France who scored the opening two points.
Suzi-Rose Deegan was able to calm things down with an and-one conversion though and Sara-Rose Smith then came off the bench to knock down two quick shots as Australia began to break down their opponents in the pick and roll.
France had the answers for every basket though, keeping their noses in front by three points midway through the contest.
As the game wore on, Deegan was able to influence the boards and her second chance opportunities were again a major factor for Australia as they cut the deficit to one with three minutes remaining.
France then found themselves in foul trouble and Alexandra Fowler was able to put Australia in front from the charity stripe.
However, that moment was fleeting as France moved back in front by four with less than a minute to go on the back of three consecutive two-pointers.
Deegan quickly responded though and then Ruby Porter drained a miracle just before the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
In a race to two points, France scored the opening bucket but Fowler had the chance to win the game from the free-throw line after being fouled. She hit her first shot but missed the second and France were able to counter after they was fouled as well, hitting 1-2 to clinch a thrilling 20-19 win.
The Aussies had to bounce back quickly against China, who had fallen to the USA in their Semi-Final, an hour later for the bronze medal.
A slow start once again plagued the Aussies, dropping behind 4-0 after China began with two two’s.
Smith nailed a two herself though and the team’s defensive hustle brought them into the contest, recording a couple of steals and forcing their opponents to the end of the shot clock on several possessions.
Offensively, Deegan was firing on all cylinders and she moved Australia in front midway through the contest on the back of a 7-0 run as she proved unstoppable in getting to the rim.
Her pick and roll’s with Fowler were also highly effective but while China only seemed concerned with two-pointers, their strategy paid off as they went on a 4-0 run themselves to tie the score with just over three minutes to play.
Deegan immediately countered though with her own shot and soon found Fowler again to give Australia some breathing space.
Porter then drilled what would prove to be the dagger from beyond the arc as Australia went on to claim a 16-13 victory and the bronze medal.
Coming into the tournament as the lowest ranked women’s team due to worldwide ranking points, the four teenagers carried Australia to another podium winning performance, owning a 5-2 record overall, as the country’s 3×3 prospects continue to grow.
The Australian 3×3 Women’s Results from the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games:
October 11: Australia def. Netherlands 11-7
October 11: Australia def. Czech Republic 15-11
October 15: Australia def. by Spain 7-12
October 15: Australia def. Estonia 19-15
October 17: Quarter-Finals- Australia def. Ukraine 16-6
October 18: Semi-Final- Australia def. by France 19-20 (overtime)
October 18: Bronze medal game- Australia def. China 16-13