One point pre­cious in Opals’ nail­biter

The Cairns Post - - SPORT -

THE Aus­tralian Opals have come away with a spot at the world cham­pi­onships and Kelsey Grif­fin an MVP award but not the gold medal at the Asia Cup.

The Opals fell at the fi­nal hur­dle at the tour­na­ment in In­dia, beaten for the gold medal by one point in a thriller with Ja­pan.

The sharp-shoot­ing Ja­panese over­came a six point half­time deficit to take out the gold medal match 74-73.

Ja­pan set up their win by outscor­ing the Opals 26-14 in the third with Sam Mizushima lethal in of­fence with an ex­tra­or­di­nary seven three-point­ers.

The Opals trailed by just six points at three-quar­ter time and tied the game with 1:30 left to play.

Aus­tralia re­gained pos­ses­sion with a chance to win the game in the fi­nal 10 sec­onds.

Veteran Belinda Snell put up a shot in the dy­ing mo­ments of the game but failed to sink the po­ten­tial game win­ner.

Mizushima ended the match with 26 points but it was Aus­tralian MVP and Townsville Fire star Kelsey Grif­fin who top-scored with 30 points and 15 re­bounds. For the tour­na­ment Grif­fin av­er­aged 17.9 points and 9.1 re­bounds cap­ping off her first tour­na­ment as a mem­ber of the Opals.

The top four fin­ish­ers at the Asia Cup have now qual­i­fied for the world women’s bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onships in Spain next year.

Mean­while, the men’s Asia Cup will be held in Le­banon next month, with Cairns Taipans Mitch McCar­ron and Cam Glid­don set to suit up for the Boomers.

The Boomers first game is against Ja­pan on Au­gust 8.

ON FIRE: Kelsey Grif­fin.

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