Opals score 91-45 win over Taiwan in Asia Cup basketball

Captain Tess Madgen drives to the basket in Australia's 91-45 Asia Cup Group B win over Taiwan.

Captain Tess Madgen drives to the basket in Australia's 91-45 Asia Cup Group B win over Taiwan. Photo: AAP

The Opals have set up a massive group-deciding clash with Japan in the women’s basketball Asian Cup after cruising to a second big win by hammering Taiwan 91-45.

Australia was challenged more than in its 71-point opening game rout of the Philippines, but the Opals’ height advantage, multiple scoring options and stifling defence proved decisive on Tuesday.

Taiwan opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but that was its only lead with Australia reeling off the next 11 points.

The Opals’ lead never dipped below four as they led 19-12 at quarter-time and scored the last nine points of the second to lead 41-24 at half-time.

Australia maintained the pressure throughout the second half to lead by 30 at three-quarter time and conceded just five points in the final quarter.

The Opals had a colossal 68-21 rebounding advantage with Anneli Maley dragging down 15 boards.

Forward Keely Froling added some offensive punch off the bench, top scoring with 16 points and notching nine rebounds and two blocks.

Captain Tess Madgen was perfect from the field shooting four from four in her 12-point haul, a tally matched by fellow guard Madison Rocci.

Chantal Horvát scored 10 in 10 minutes, Alice Kunek also tallied 10 and pulled in nine rebounds.

Taiwan shot at under 28 per cent from the field and none of its players scored more than eight.

“They put a lot of pressure on the ball. I thought as the game went we did a great job of handling that,” Opals coach Shannon Seebohm said.

“Particularly in the second half I thought we executed really well and another outstanding defensive performance as well.”

Top spot in the four-team round-robin group will be settled on Wednesday when Australia plays Japan, which also moved to 2-0 with a 95-57 win over the Philippines.

Japan, which is seeking a sixth straight Asian Cup title, made 18 three-pointers in its win.

“They’ve definitely got the advantage on the perimeter against us. We’ve got the height advantage inside,” Madgen told AAP.

“All of our match-ups will be a height advantage, so it’s critical we win the rebounding.”

In Group A, Korea also showed its threat from distance making 14 triples in its 76-54 victory over Lebanon, while unbeaten China beat New Zealand 80-46, outscoring the Tall Ferns 32-7 in the third quarter.


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