SYDNEY (Friendly Games) - The Australian women's basketball team has taken an unbeatable two-nil lead in their 3-game series against Chinese Taipei on the NSW Central Coast.
Chinese Taipei fared better than the 43-point drubbing they suffered the previous day but the Opals showed too much class in the second game to take victory by thirty-two points, 90-58.
The reigning World Champions were without a number of their world-class stars, including Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Kristi Harrower and Belinda Snell.
World Champion Opal Hollie Grima top scored for Australia with 15 points while Natalie Porter (14 points), Emma Randall (14 points), Rohanee Cox (13 points) and Jenni Screen (12 points) all contributed.
Feng-Chun Chiang led Chinese Taipei with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
The final match of the series will take place at Bridgecoast Stadium in Terrigal on Saturday at 7:00pm.
"Full credit to Chinese Taipei," Opals head coach Jan Stirling said.
"If they hit their 3-point shots they can really make life hell for you.
"They played a terrific first half and we were very ordinary but they made us look ordinary.
"We needed to address that at half time but I thought the girls came out in the second half and certainly dominated, as we should."
Grima, Randall, Cox, Erin Phillips and Samantha Richards started for Australia and it was Phillips that delighted the strong Central Coast crowd by opening the scoring on a long bomb from the corner.
Chinese Taipei scored the next four points and when Opals head coach Jan Stirling called time out with 3:50 remaining in the opening period the visitors were the surprise leaders, 11-10. Jenni Screen came off the bench to orchestrate an Opals revival and after one quarter Australia led, 20-16.
Cox kept the scorers busy in a second period dominated by high-intensity defence and when the teams went to the locker room Australia had a double digit advantage, 37-27.
Feng-Chun Chiang's 3-pointer to open up proceedings after the break received an immediate replay from Screen in the corner and the two teams battled it out in the third period with Australia extending its lead to seventeen points with one quarter to play, 57-40.
Chinese Taipei threw everything at Australia in the final period but the Opals showed superior conditioning to outlast the visitors and take victory by thirty points.
For the second night in a row, Australia dominated the rebound count (46-21) but a low 3-point shooting percentage (4-16, 25 per cent) restricted the Opals offensive output.
AUSTRALIA 90 - Hollie Grima 15, Natalie Porter 14, Emma Randall 14 bt
CHINESE TAIPEI 58 - Feng-Chun Chiang 16, Chi Wen 10, Hui-Yun Cheng 9
at Bridgecoast Stadium, Terrigal
Quarter by quarter:
1: AUS 20 TPE 16
H: AUS 37 TPE 27 (17-11)
3: AUS 57 TPE 40 (20-13)
F: AUS 90 TPE 58 (33-18)
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images