Team England go into tomorrow’s Commonwealth Games Final with nothing to lose as they will be guaranteed at least a silver medal regardless of the outcome.
Opponents Australia have been the cream of the crop at this year’s tournament, leading the way in nearly every major offensive and defensive category. They have scored at least 100 points in all four of their wins to date, conceding an average of just 54.8 points per game in return.
When England met the host nation during Pool A play, the Opals recorded an emphatic 118-55 victory. But as Team England showed with today’s bounce back win over Canada, results in the group stage don’t count for everything once the knockout stages begin. That said, a victory against the 4th ranked team in the world is still a tough ask.
“We have to be realistic and acknowledge that Australia are one of the best teams in the world, so our chances are limited,” said Head Coach Jose Maria Buceta. “That said, we will go to the game and do our best. If we have any chance to win the game, we will take it.”
One of the reasons that Australia are so strong is forward Liz Cambage. The 6’7” WNBA star had a game-high 30 points in just 17 minutes of action when Australia pummelled England in their previous meeting. She averages 24.5ppg at this year’s tournament, higher than any other player, and is also the most fouled player in the Women’s competition. Finding a way to slow her down is something that has eluded England and many other teams in recent years.
Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s game, Buceta is eager to highlight just how big an achievement it was for England to be lining up in tomorrow’s Gold Medal match, “We don’t have many opportunities to play Finals, this is a big opportunity for us,” he said. “We have to take the opportunity and the team deserves this. They have been magnificent”
When asked if lightning could strike twice tomorrow and allow England to bite back against Australia in the same way they had against Canada, Buceta had a light hearted response, “If we follow that same tendency, then we will win!” laughed the Spaniard. “But Australia are not Canada. Canada are a very good team, but Australia are a better team, that is the reality. But that’s ok, tomorrow is the Final and anything can happen.”
Date: Saturday 14 April
Stage: Gold Medal game
How to follow: We’ll have coverage and commentary throughout the game on our Twitter feed, @bballengland. If the game is chosen for live streaming, we'll advertise the link on our social media channels.