Day 4 Women: AUS 77 - GRE 40
Opals thrash Greece in SPORN's 300th game
ATHENS Sydney Olympic Games silver medallist Australia flexed its muscles to outclass Greece 77-40 at the Helliniko Indoor Arena tonight, the Opals' fourth consecutive win in Group A.
In what was veteran forward Rachael SPORN's (AUS) 300th game for her country, the Australians were once again led by dominant centre Lauren JACKSON (20 points, 12 rebounds), while fellow WNBA star Penny TAYLOR added 15 points and Belinda SNELL contributed 12 points.
The game blew out from the tip-off as Australia started with a 11-2 run. When the Greeks managed to cut the margin to 20-15 early in the second period, the Australians answered with a 14-0 run that effectively ended the contest by half way through the quarter.
Showing why it is one of the gold medal contenders, Australia contined to attack the Greek basket until the very end. With one minute remaining the Opals doubled Greece's score at 72-36.
None of the Greek players managed to score in double digits, Evanthia MALTSI offering the most resistance with nine points and 10 boards and Polymnia SAREGKOU adding eight points.
Greece (1-3) now needs to beat Japan (1-3) on Sunday to make the next round.
|Press conference quotes:|
Sandra BRONDELLO (AUS), Guard
On the game:
"We had an easy game today against Greece. This doesnt mean that we are going to relax. We have also to win Brazil and go the quarterfinals without any defeat. We are concentrating on each game and on each opponent separately and we make a step at a time."
On the wish that she makes for her birthday:
"What else can I wish? The gold medal! It is my dream that I hope to come true here in Athens."
Evina MALTSI (GRE), Guard
On her team's loss:
"We didn't expect to win Australia. Actually, it was not our initial goal. We had a really bad performance, so we have to forget it and get prepared for the most crucial game of the tournament against Japan. We shouldn't lose by so many points but when Australia escaped with a 34-25 lead during the second period, it was impossible for us to follow them."
Polymnia SAREGKOU, Forward (GRE)
"It was a very tough game. We know how strong Australia is; I believe they will win one of the three medals. We wanted to play a good game, but did not manage to. Hats off to Australia, they have done a wonderful job. We were disappointed by the result. We certainly can play better than that. We didn't expect the point margin to be so high. Now we must work on our game against Japan."
Rachael SPORN, Forward (AUS)
"We are very happy with our start. We took the crowd out of the game with a good defensive effort, kept their scorers down. Australia was always known for its defensive power, but now with Lauren (JACKSON) and Penny (TAYLOR) our opponents must watch for our offense too. And our bench plays with confidence too. Brazil now follows; it's a very physical team, to which we lost at the last World Championships, but we can match with them very well. I'm happy that my landmark game (her 300th with the national team) ended up with a win."
Georgios TSITSKARIS, Head Coach (GRE)
"Congratulations to the team and the coach of Australia. We have played them several times and knew how strong they are. For us, the game was a preparation for Sunday's game against Japan, which would be the crucial one no matter what would happen tonight. By saying that, I don't to take anything away from Australia, since they played a very good game."
Jan STIRLING, Head Coach (GRE)
On the game and the Greek team:
"Greece were down on their normal game tonight. We came across them for the last time in August 2003, and George (TSITSKARIS) has done a wonderful job since. They are better than the scoreline reflects. I wish them well for Sunday."
On changes in the Australian team since 2000:
"Compared to the Sydney team, we have not made many changes, except that some senior players have retired and now we have six players without Olympic experience. And of course we added JACKSON and TAYLOR, who are WNBA players. Especially TAYLOR has come a long way. She has improved significantly in the last 2-3 years, she has become a great penetrator and has improved on defense too.
On using zone defense in a possible match against the United States:
"There is a global trend towards zone defense lately. We have played it at times ourselves. Whether it works or not, depends on the circumstances."
Source: Athens news service