Australia’s hopes of a medal at the Under-19 World Cup hinge on tomorrow’s must-win encounter against Hungary.
Having suffered a shock 61-66 loss to Japan in the opening match of the tournament, the Gems rebounded last night with 109-34 victory over Mexico in Italy.
JCU Townsville Fire forward Zitina Aokuso finished with eight points and seven rebounds after collecting six points and five boards in the opening encounter.
With a berth in the quarter-finals at stake, the Gems must defeat Hungary, who also boast a 1-1 record, to remain in medal contention.
The news wasn’t much better for New Zealand at the Asia Cup, with the Tall Ferns falling to China overnight.
While the Tall Ferns will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals – along with the other seven teams contesting the World Cup qualifier – the 48-77 loss was still a result that would disappoint them after strong lead-up performances in Taiwan and Singapore.
Dual championship winner Micaela Cocks finished with 11 points and two assists, while Jill Harmon top-scored with 14 points and three rebounds despite early foul trouble.
The Opals accounted for South Korea 78-54 in Pool B.
The Tall Ferns will look to bounce back today when they face North Korea in their second pool game.
In the Waratah League, Fire captain Suzy Batkovic will sign off from her stint with Newcastle on Saturday night as the Hunters face the North Bears.
Not surprisingly, Batkovic presently leads the league in points and rebounds, with the five-time WNBL MVP averaging 29.8 points and 15.6 rebounds per game.
In the QBL, the Townsville Flames’ finals hopes are flickering after a 69-86 loss to Gladstone.
Championship-winning forward Darcee Garbin top-scored for the Flames with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Mia Murray posted 15 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Haylee Andrews finished with three points in another start for the teenager.
A last-gasp shooting spree from Miela Goodchild could not prevent Logan from losing in overtime to Ipswich.
Back from the Under-17 Oceania Championships, Goodchild caught fire in the final term as she nailed back-to-back triples before making a lay-up in transition to give the Thunder the lead.
The Jets proved too good in overtime, however, as Goodchild finished with 11 points, three rebounds and an assist.
Meanwhile, the WNBA broke for the All*Star weekend with Cayla George and Sydney Wiese earning a well-earned break.