Cambage destroys China as Opals reach World Cup semis
AUSTRALIA have advanced to the Women's basketball World Cup semi-finals by defeating China 83-42 in Spain.
Behind another masterful performance from Liz Cambage (20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks), the Opals swept past the 10th-ranked China team on Friday night in Spain's Canary Islands to qualify for the medal rounds.
Australia jumped out to a 17-point lead after one quarter to take control of the contest and book their spot in Sunday night's semi-final.
The Opals will play the winner of the quarter-final between Canada and host nation Spain.
Cambage was again the catalyst for Australia's win, the tournament's leading scorer overwhelming a physical Chinese defence with her power and touch around the basket.
Forward Rebecca Allen provided offensive support for Cambage to finish with 16 points, the duo combining for 18 of Australia's 24 points in the first quarter.
Australia's team defence also played its part by restricting China to 18 points in the first half and holding leading scorer Ting Shao to seven points for the match.
With the result beyond doubt in the second half, coach Sandy Brondello rested her star centre in the fourth quarter as the Opals chart a course for a potential gold medal showdown with the USA.
In a further boost for the Opals, captain Jenna O'Hea made her first appearance for the tournament after sitting out the group phase with a calf strain.
Allen set the tone with a triple to open the match while Cambage powered her way to 10 points as the Opals finished the quarter with a 24-7 advantage. Australia kept rolling in the second quarter as the lead blew out to 25 points after Cayla Francis nailed a long-range bomb and Katie Ebzery completed a three- point play.
China ended the first half having made just 8-of-33 shots as the Opals took a 42-18 lead into the main break.
Australia showed no signs of slowing down after halftime with Cambage on target and Steph Talbot joining the scorers with a three-pointer.
Mengran Sun and Yueru Li started to find the basket for China midway through the third quarter but the Opals steadied to take an unassailable 61-34 advantage into the final term.