Batkovic guides Opals to victory

Suzy Opals

JCU Townsville Fire captain Suzy Batkovic has helped Australia to a 39-point win over Japan during the opening game of the best-of-three series in Nagaoka.

The Opals led from start to finish as they claimed an 80-41 victory with Batkovic recording nine points, six rebounds and an assist in a tick under 13 minutes.

In her return to the Opals, Liz Cambage top-scored with 17 points and seven rebounds, while former Sydney Uni Flames captain Katie-Rae Ebzery was the only other Australian in double figures with 13.

Two-time Fire championship winner Cayla George finished with eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.

“The margin was a surprise considering the strength of Japan and our previous encounters,” Australian coach Brendan Joyce said.

“Our team defence was superb for the full 40min keeping Japan to 41 points and 0% from the three point line.

“Japan as a team generally shot a high percentage as this is one of their strengths.”

The Opals return to the court tonight in Tokyo for game two before backing up tomorrow in their third and final encounter.

Click here to see box scores from the series opener.

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