Australia made an impressive start to the women’s basketball 3x3 competition at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 on Wednesday 10 October.
The Oceania side kicked off with an 11-7 defeat of the Netherlands before seeing off Czech Republic 15-11 to move to the top of Pool D.
Their bid for gold is founded on the international experience of a quartet that features two players who won bronze medals at the 2018 FIBA Under-17 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Belarus: Alexandra Fowler and Ruby Porter.
In a sign of Australia’s strength, it was the other two members of the team who excelled in their two opening wins in the section. Suzi-Rose Deegan contributed five points in the victory over the Dutch and Sara-Rose Smith 14 points, with Smith then chipping in with eight of her side’s 15 points in the defeat of the Czechs.
The 17-year-old Fowler, who stands an imposing 1.83m tall, is the leader of the team. “We’ve come to Buenos Aires 2018 with international experience at the highest level, which has made it easier for us to adapt to this competition,” she said. “It also helps us show the ropes to the players with less experience.”
Explaining the differences between conventional basketball and the format being used at Buenos Aires 2018, Porter said: “The basics are the same but in basketball 3x3 you have to adapt because the matches are faster and demand more of you physically. You need stamina to play this game.”
Australia are one of six sides with a perfect 2-0 record after the opening round of group matches at the Urban Park, along with hosts Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, the USA, and Mexico. The team from Oceania play Spain and Estonia in their final two pool matches on Sunday 14 October, when they hope their competitive know-how will help take them into the quarter-finals.