Liz Cambage stifled as Opals settle for silver at basketball World Cup

Liz Cambage stifled as Opals settle for silver at basketball World Cup
Liz Cambage stifled as Opals settle for silver at basketball World Cup

Australia last reached the world cup final in 2006, when they claimed the gold medal.AP: Andres Gutierrez

Australia has been defeated 73-56 by the United States in the women's basketball World Cup final in Spain.

The Opals were looking to finish a successful World Cup campaign on a high but proved no match for the US in the final in Tenerife.

The tournament favourites led from the outset and restricted Australia's powerhouse centre Liz Cambage — primarily through final MVP, Brittney Griner — to just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Photo Brittney Griner was named final MVP for her performance against the Opals.

AP: Andres Gutierrez

It was the first game of the tournament in which Cambage had failed to score 20 points or more.

Coach Sandy Brondello was proud of the way her team fought out the match, especially at the defensive end, but a lack of offence with their leading scorer struggling for points proved their downfall.

"Their defence was pretty aggressive as well and they made it hard for us to get the ball into Liz," Brondello said.

"We had to rely on outside shooting and it just wasn't our night tonight."

The Opals kept the score close during a dour first half but a 26-11 third quarter from the US secured the victory.

"America are tough," Australian captain Jenna O'Hea said after the match. "I'm extremely proud of our girls though for the whole tournament.

"Just today was not our day, unfortunately."

Australia's second-placed finish is its best at a World Cup since winning gold at the 2006 championships.

Lauren Jackson, a key player in that triumphant side, offered her congratulations post-match.

The USA's Breanna Stewart claimed the tournament MVP award, ahead of Cambage, who was honoured instead with a spot in the All-Star Five team of the tournament.

While Cambage made her presence felt on the defensive end with 14 rebounds and five blocks, the Opals struggled without her offensive output.

Australia's scoring was led by reserve forward Alanna Smith, the 22-year-old finishing with 10 points.

AAP

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