The Australian Devils are off to the perfect start at the 2019 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) Women’s Under-25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in Suphan Buri, Thailand, beating Germany 55-37 in their opening game of the tournament.
A strong defensive performance and a domination on the defensive glass set up the victory, as the Devils held Germany to 26% shooting while finishing with a 41-18 edge in defensive rebounds.
Annabelle Lindsay (27 points, 12 rebounds, three steals) and Teisha Shadwell (12 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) had the Devils rolling early as they scored 13 of the team’s first 15 points.
Mary Friday and Isabel Martin (two points, three rebounds) helped Australia gain an edge in the rebounds as well, before Taishar Ovens came off the bench to maintain the scoreboard pressure and give the Devils a double-digit lead at quarter-time.
Germany responded with an 8-2 run to begin the second term as turnovers and foul trouble became a concern for Australia.
However, Lindsay ended the drought with a transition lay-up before Jess Cronje (eight points, eight boards) subbed in, making a significant impact off the bench by scoring or assisting on four straight possessions.
That saw the Devils return to their first-quarter form and take a 14-point lead into the main break.
“Through some foul trouble we had to bring Jess off the bench and play with her, Annabelle, Mary, Taishar and Isabel,” said Head Coach Stephen Charlton.
“Our one-pointers were exceptional, though, and really changed the course of the game. They handled the pressure, their defence through the zone was really good, and we were able to play Mary as a point guard in the half-court offence.”
The Devils did not let half-time distract them from their goal, maintaining the pressure at both ends of the floor as Lindsay continued to shine offensively while Martin and Maryanne Latu (four points, four assists) also sunk baskets.
The lead got as high at 24 late in the fourth quarter, but while Germany finished the game by winning the fourth term 12-8, the damage had been done.
“Against a quality nation like Germany, we’re very pleased to get a win first up,” Charlton said.
“They threw some stuff at us in the first half, we had to go deep in the bench and find some things.
“But you never know what the first game is going to be like, so to come out, get everyone on the court and tough out a win, I’m really proud of the girls.”
The Devils return to the floor tomorrow (24 May) night at 18:00 AEST to take on Turkey as the group stage continues.
View the box score here.
|Draw – 2019 IWBF Women’s Under-25 Wheelchair Basketball World Championships|
|23 May||Germany 37 def by Australia 55||19:00|
|24 May||Australia v Turkey||18:00|
|25 May||USA v Australia||20:15|
|28 May||Finals and placings||TBC|
By Basketball Australia
Photo with thanks to MSSP Michael Schwartz / Uli Gasper