Opals downed by US in semi-final at world titles
THE Opals were consigned to a bronze medal playoff against Turkey at the world championships after an 82-70 loss to the USA in the semi-finals.
The Aussies, playing the tournament without injured stars Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage, trailed by just three at quarter-time despite shooting at 21% from the field.
The Americans broke the match open in the second term, taking a match-winning 42-30 lead into the second half.
Led by Erin Phillips (pictured, 19 points) and Marianna Tolo (10 points and six rebounds), the Opals cut the lead back to six points early in the final quarter, but the USA was able to close the game out to earn a grand final match-up against Spain.
Australia struggled in the paint without Jackson and Cambage, losing the rebound battle 49-33. The Opals won medals at three of the past four world championships - taking bronze in 1998 and 2002, and gold in 2006.