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Basketball - 13. July 2007.

AUS - Opals crush Japanese students in Cup opener

SYDNEY (National Team Women)

In an impressive opening hit out, Head Coach Jan Stirling was able to rotate all 11 players throughout the game as the size, organisation and athletic quality of the World Champions proved too much for the Japanese students.

The William Jones Cup features teams from Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Korea and the United States and will provide the Opals with an important series of quality games as they begin their journey towards the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"This tournament will provide us with the challenge of playing against a wide variety of styles and will be important as we move forward," Stirling said.

"To have all 11 players make worthwhile contributions is always a huge positive and that is the sort of style we will look to continue throughout the William Jones Cup."

Led by the size and agility of World Champion forwards Hollie Grima and Emma Randall, the Opals were able to dominate the rebounding count, with the pair combining for 42 points and 17 rebounds.

Grima scored 22 points to go with 8 rebounds with Randall contributing 20 points and 9 rebounds.

Perth Lynx guard Carly Wilson added 15 points and 6 rebounds while Townsville Fire forward Rohanee Cox enjoyed her return to the national team with 14 points and dual Olympian Michelle Brogan led all rebounders with 14 boards in just 19 minutes on court.

The Opals shook off the effects of travel to jump out of the blocks, leading 31-12 at the first change and then maintaining the pressure on their opponents by rotating fresh legs throughout the course of the game.

The Opals held a dominant 69-23 halftime lead.

The Opals next game is against the talented USA Athletes in Action squad at 5pm AEST tonight.

Australia 120 (Grima 22, Randall 20, Wilson 15, Cox 14) def
Japanese University Games Team 59 (Kanade 23, Nutya 8).

Ben Hawes

Basketball Australia

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