Lauren Jackson’s return couldn’t stop the Opals from shedding 70-57 to Olympic bronze medallists France of their first sport of the FIBA Girls’s World Cup.
Thursday night time’s loss at Sydney’s Qudos Financial institution Area was Australia’s first to France from six World Cup conferences and broke a 19-game profitable streak within the qualifying spherical of the World Cup that dated again to 1994.
The loss leaves the Opals with work to do to progress from Group B, the extra aggressive of the 2 World Cup swimming pools.
Australia’s most adorned feminine basketballer, 41-year-old Jackson made a cameo from the bench in her first aggressive sport for the Opals since asserting her worldwide retirement in 2013.
She made her presence felt in defence early however had her position decreased within the second half, when fellow centre Marianna Tolo started to take the competition on and command extra minutes.
Jackson’s first and solely factors of the sport got here from deep with a minute to play within the first quarter and restored Australia’s lead.
The three-pointer made Jackson solely the third lady to attain 600 factors at World Cups.
After sitting the third quarter out, Jackson got here on and tried to settle her aspect’s nerves within the closing 4 minutes however the Opals couldn’t reel the French in after they broke away within the second half.
The ultimate rating maybe didn’t do justice to a good contest; the lead modified seven instances within the first half.
Opening night time nerves struck either side however Bec Allen stood up early for the Opals and had 11 factors to her identify by the half.
France introduced the higher defensive strain, pouncing on Australia’s lapses to attain extra prolifically from turnovers and choose and roll by means of the paint for straightforward factors.
The Opals used measurement to their benefit and most well-liked to attain from rebounds however have been left to rue some wayward taking pictures.
The French lifted their depth after halftime however Tolo stored the Opals within the battle and denied France as they appeared to stretch out to a extra snug lead within the third quarter.
However led by former first-round WNBA draft choose Gabby Williams, France held their lead by means of the second half by taking pictures extra precisely and muscling up in defence.
The Opals should end within the prime 4 of their six-team pool to advance to the following section of the event and so they face Mali on Friday night time of their subsequent match. They’ll enter the sport heavy favourites.
Match favourites USA beat Belgium 87-72 in Group A, earlier than Canada’s 67-60 defeat of a fast-finishing Serbia boosted their probabilities of making it by means of the aggressive Group B.
After going by means of their first World Cup winless, Puerto Rico upset Bosnia & Herzegovina 82-58 and surpassed their earlier event high-score of 62 factors by three-quarter time.
China posted essentially the most dominant efficiency of the day with a 107-44 thrashing that prolonged South Korea’s World Cup shedding streak to 10 video games.
The South Koreans haven’t received a Girls’s World Cup sport since 2010.