Cambage leads Opals to win over Nigeria

Australia have opened their Women's basketball World Cup campaign with a comfortable 86-68 victory over Nigeria.

Centre Liz Cambage showed why she's been touted as one of the stars of the tournament with a dominant display under the basket as she tallied 34 points,12 rebounds and four blocks.

The Opals led from start to finish in Tenerife on Saturday but were made to work hard by Nigeria's aggressive defence before powering away in the fourth quarter.

Coming off a record-breaking season in the WNBA with the Dallas Stars, Cambage produced 20 points, six rebounds and three blocks in the first half as Australia established an 11-point lead.

Nigeria challenged the Opals in the third quarter, with Evelyn Akhator (21 points) and Ezinne Kalu (15) leading the way but they couldn't sustain their high-energy play in the final term.

Forward Rebecca Allen finished with nine points, while Tess Magden, Ezi Magbegor and Opals debutant Sami Whitcomb each added eight points.

Australia hit their first six shots of the match to build an early advantage but Nigeria capitalised once Cambage went to the bench to draw level.

But Cambage re-entered the game and combined with Whitcomb to close the quarter with a 24-17 lead.

The Opals started to look dangerous in the second quarter as they raced to a 13-point lead but Nigeria stemmed the tide to stay within reach at halftime down 42-31.

Australia found their outside shooting touch in the third quarter, with Allen landing the team's first three-pointer and Whitcomb hitting twice from deep, but Kalu and Akhator ensured Nigeria outscored the Opals in the third term.

Taking a 63-54 edge into the final quarter, the Opals finally took charge as Nigeria faded in the closing minutes.

Australia's next group phase match will be against Argentina on Sunday.


Source: Read Full Article