Saturday, January 17, 2009

Womens Gold Medal Game: Australia vs. Japan

Cole looking for Allen off the seal
Brown was a force down low...

Tippett working the High>Low

Winners are grinners! :P Kerryn Harrington is front row, brown hair.

Gold Medal Game: Australia vs. Japan

Australian starters:
Harrington- PG no. 6
Cole- SG no. 4
Karaitiana- SF no.10,
Tippett- PF no.11
Payne- C no.15

Japanese Starters:

Katsura- no.4
Chiku no.5
Tsurimi no.7
Nagoaka no.11
Chikahira no. 14

Once again, Tippett gets the scoring going. Surprise? No really. Tippett gets 2 offensive rebounds for another bucket. 5-2 Australia lead early.
Tipett gets another offensive rebound, kicks it out to 10 from the free-throw line. Good. 7-4 Aus. Um, Tippett isn’t that big or strong either. She just knows how to play the game like a veteran. She doesn’t get any plays run for her either. It’s uncanny the way she does stuff.
12-5 Aus after 5 minutes.

Carrie Graff is here. Graff coaches’ perennial power-house Canberra in the WNBL, and she’s recently become the head coach of the Australian women’s team, the Opals.
Rachael Sporne is here with her as well. Sporne captained the silver medal winning Opals at the 2000 Olympics, and is not the Ahmad Rashard of WNBL side-line reporting ( I forget the name of the woman who does it for ESPN nowadays).
Australia is taller at every position over the Japanese by a good inch or two. They’re dominating the rebound count (mainly Tippett) but the other girls are doing the fundamentals well. They box out from the weak side and they have active hands.
Australia has gone on an extended 15-4 run to lead by 16 at the end of the 1st 25-9. Allyson Brown has 7 points; Tippett and Cole both have 4. Naho Miyoshi leads Japan with 4.
10 banks it in for Aus and the lead is 21. 34-13 Australia lead with 6:20 to go. Another 3, this time from 4 makes it 37-13.

2 consecutive air balls for Japan isn’t helping their cause….Tippett gets a steal, but Brown decides to run with the ball. Yes you travelled girlie. Even ‘Bron ‘Bron couldn’t get away with that one… Australia still lead by 30 though- with 4 minutes remaining in the SECOND quarter.
This is like watching the Knicks play the Celtics last year- It’s an absolute massacre. It’s 51-18 at half-time.
For Australia:

Cole has 13,4 (rebounds) and 3 (assists.
Brown has 9 and 3 boards.
Tippett has 8,3,2 a steal and a block.
The Aussies are shooting 61% from the floor and have 22 rebounds, 12 assists and 9 turnovers.
Myoshi has 6 points. Nobody else has more than 4.
22% shooting won’t win you any games….sorry Japan. They’ve attempted 11 three pointers and haven’t hit one. They’ve got 10 rebounds and 1 assist. Surprisingly though, they’ve only turned it over twice more than the Australians.
Coach Graff says that Tippett will play the 3 Internationally (even though she spends her time at the 4/5 here) and that she reminds her of Lauren Jackson and Sporne- high praise for a 15 year old from a national coach.
Point Guard Kerryn Harrington has been extremely solid all game, and if she doesn’t play for a high grade College program like UCONN, UNC, Tennessee etc. I will be highly disappointed.

2nd Half:

Japan starts off with a basket!
2 in a row! They’re on fire! Mike Miller must be in disguise right now.
Tippett sets a pick as hard as Robert Horry ever did and just lays the Japanese point guard out. It’s worth mentioning that Tippett has two brothers, both of whom play AFL. So being naturally aggressive must run in the family it seems…
Japan scores again.
53-25 Australia lead. But Coach Nicole Ireland is very unimpressed. Time-Out Aus.
Katsura hits both from the line to make it a, ah, 28 point game. 6:30 remaining.
Tippett runs the floor and is rewarded. She’s got 10.
Allen grabs her own missed shot and has a chance for a 3 point play. She misses, but Aus get the rebound anyways, after some sloppy play, they get a lay-up. It’s been that kind of night for Australia. They lead 63-27 after another fast-break lay-up.

Harrington is extremely aggressive tonight, much more so that in previous games. She’s getting to the basket and creating plays for others, rather than playing as the set-up point guard tonight. It doesn’t show it on the box score, but she’s been really solid tonight.

Tippett just killed Katsura with a vicious back pick. This one was even harder than her previous one, Katsura is trying to laugh about it (but failing horribly), but she got elbows to the neck and back of the head. Ouch.
Harrington hits a 3 to bail out the Aussies as the shot-clock buzzer. Its 71-32 at the end of the 3rd.


Tippett gets two easy buckets. She’s got 14. Cole gets an easy one and she’s the high scorer with 17. Japan is playing much better in the second half but it’s still 77-38. 6:50 remains in the 4th.
Allen steals the ball off the baseline inbounds and finishes with a lefty reverse. Nice play- great hands.
Tsurumi goes coast to coast with a CP-like finish. She’s probably the fastest girl in the competition- with and without the ball.
It’s 86-45 with 3 minutes remaining.
Komeda finishes strong at the hoop, harm and all. Free-throw is off though.
Japan isn’t a bad team at all, it’s just that they have no height at the 4 and 5 spots. Their starting centre is shorter than the starting PF (Tippett) for Australia.
The game is over and Australia dribbles out the clock to record a resounding 91-54 victory.
Throughout the tournament, it was obvious that the Aussie girls were the best team out there every single time they stepped on the floor. The 37 point win wasn't a fluke. No way.

Post Game:
Australia- Shooting % : 54%, 25%, 50%
Rebecca Cole had 17, 6 and 5.
Gretel Tippett had 16, 8, 4, 4 (steals) and 2 (blocks).
Allyson Brown: 14, 5 rebounds.
Rebecca Allen: 12 pts, 15 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block.
Aussies finished with 54 rebounds, 20 assists, 24 TO's, 9 steals and 8 blocks.

Japan:- Shooting%: 28%, 5%, 56%
Naho Myoshi had 10pts, 2 rebounds and a steal.
Aya Tsurimi had 10pts, 3rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals.
Rina Hayakawa had 6pts, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block.
Japan had 24 rebounds, 4 assists, 19 turnovers, 10 steals, 3 blocks.

Nobody from Japan really stood out for me unfortunately. Tsurimi is very quick handling the ball, but Japan was just too small at every position to match up with the bigger, stronger Australian girls.
I don't want you to get the impression that all the Aussie girls look like Courtney Paris-none of them do. They all have lean, athletic bodies and can get up and down the court easily.

Tippett will be a force for the next 20 years as a player- she's only 15 and she's 6'2. Almost 6'3. I stood next to her and we're about the same height. She blocks shots, hustles, rebounds, she's very athletic ( she says she can dunk it- I don't doubt that at all) and runs the floor well. She can shoot the ball well from 15ft inwards, although since she could get to the basket (and finish with either hand with ease) that part of her game wasn't fully on display. She hits FT's too.

Harrington will be an extremely good point guard for many years to come. She's excellent defensively both on and off the ball, solid offensively, has a nice jumper and she has a quick first step and the ability to dribble drive....Yeh, she was my personal player of the game, even though it doesn't appear on the box score. The boxscore says she had 6 points and 1 assist- and 5 turovers. Ignore it. She controlled the tempo extremely well and is very comfortable handling the ball at the point. She also played the 2 occassionally and she became more aggressive off the ball, looking for her shots more and not being so much of a facilitator. She was very, very good all tournament.

Peace, Hursty.

Pictures courtesy of Basketball Australia and Bill Baxter.
PS- Thanks Bill for getting me the accreditation and seating- it was very much appreciated. Hopefully I can do something helpful for you down the line. You were really good about everything. Much love and respect to you for helping a rookie Journo off the ground and into the air.


jameyburke said...

Thanks for the pics Hursty. For teens, some of thsoe ladies are quite tall! Some future Lauren Jacksons perhaps..Hey BLong, how 'bout them Magic..?!

Hursty said...

Yeh. The tallest of the girls are around 6'3 I'd say. None of the Japanese team was more than 6'1. I don't think the Chinese were much taller than 6'3 either. Didn't see NZ, but they were very average so it doesn't matter that much lol.

B. Long said...

Um, how bout 7 out of the last 10 teams the Celtics have played? Good notes, Hursty. I couldn't do notes on a girls game without falling asleep so I gotta give you props.

Hursty said...

Thanks B.

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