Opals one step closer to Olympics

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIA has pro­gressed to next year’s Olympic qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment after de­mol­ish­ing In­dia 114-29 in their pre­qual­i­fy­ing match in Malaysia.

Need­ing a top-two fin­ish in their group to ad­vance to the fi­nal stage of qual­i­fi­ca­tion, the Opals fol­lowed up Thurs­day’s 33-point win over Tai­wan by mak­ing light work of In­dia on Satur­day night.

Ja­pan joined Aus­tralia with a 2-0 record after their 83-57 win over Tai­wan and the two un­beaten teams played last night to de­ter­mine the win­ner of Group B.

While Ja­pan are al­ready guar­an­teed to take part in the Olympic tour­na­ment as the host na­tion, a win would see the Opals earn a higher seed­ing for the fi­nal round of qual­i­fiers.

Aus­tralia will also be aim­ing to get one over their fierce ri­vals fol­low­ing Ja­pan’s suc­cess against the Opals in the 2017 and 2019 Asia Cup fi­nals.

Liz Cam­bage was rested from Satur­day’s clash, with coach Sandy Bron­dello mak­ing sure her star cen­tre would be fit and fir­ing for their cru­cial match-up with Ja­pan.

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