It is 2018 FIBAWWC Final night in Tenerife, Spain. After thumping the number 2 ranked team in the world, Spain, Australia – world number 4 , now have world number 1, USA as the last obstacle between them and their 2nd title at the FIBA Women World Cup.
On the other hand, the United States of America are back in the final for the 11th time, amassing 9 championship win. Team USA is gunning for number 10 and becoming the 2nd nation in history to win 3 consecutive tournaments – Soviet Union won five straight from 1959-1975. But for the US not to suffer 4th two – year reign interruption, they must overcome the Opals led by MVP front-runner Elizabeth Cambage.
HEAD TO HEAD
USA have defeated Australia in all 5 meetings at the World Cup. Who takes battle number 6?
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USA 42- 38 Australia (1967 Czech Republic )
Australia 48-60 USA (1971 Brazil)
Australia 52-65 USA ( 1975 Columbia)
USA 74- 59 Australia ( 1979 South Korea)
Australia 50-76 USA ( 1986 Soviet Union)
KEYS TO WIN
Inside scoring: Elizbeth Cambage brought the house down in the Semifinal against the host, Spain putting up 33 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks to go with it. The incredible 6foot 8 is averaging a tournament high 27. 2points and 9.8 rebounds making her the leading scorer and shot blocker, and 2nd in rebounding at the World Cup
Open the court: Clearly Cambage will be the go to on offense. Australia must be aware the Americans will double team and if possible triple team their leading scorer. Therefore, the other 4 players must stay away from the paint, open up the court and be ready to receive the ball always once the American defenses collapse to stop Cambage. She will need them to step up as much as they need her at her efficient best today.
Bench Depth: The arsenal of experience and variety of weapons available to coach Dawn Staley is second to none in Tenerife. She can play down low with MVP candidate Breanna Stewart , rookies A’ja Wilson and Morgan Tuck, Tina Charles, Brittany Griner, Nneka Ogwumike or simply stretch the floor with Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd and Sue Bird.
The variety of options makes it a little easy to make offensive adjustments if one or multiple options fail.
Stop Liz Cambage: 6 foot 8 Brittany Griner will perhaps clock her most minutes of the tournament today, Tina Charles and Nneka Ogwumike will also have their fair share rotating to stop Liz Cambage anywhere she gets the ball. I believe there will be time atleast 2 of them will be on the floor at the same time to double team the Australian beast. You just got to stop her.
Note: With Cambage already clocking the most minutes and most points in the entire tournament. It’s only a bad night for the Australian Big wo-man and a terrific team performance on both ends of the floor by Team US that will swing the pendulum of victory to America. Else the championship goes Gold Coast.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Australia: Elizabeth Cambage – 27.2 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game.
Samantha Whitcomb – 10 points per game, 2.8 assists per game.
Bec Allen- 10.8 points per game, 2.8 assists per game, 4.8 rebounds per game
Breanna Stewart 17. 6 Points per game, 5.8 rebounds.
Diana Taurasi : 12.2 points per game, 3.6 assists per game
Tina Charles – 11.2 points per game , 8 assists per game.
Written by Femi Adefeso. Twitter: IncredibleFemi