Jayco Opals tip-off European tour with tough win over Turkey
The Jayco Australian Opals have tipped off their European tour, with a solid but hard-fought 57-49 win over Turkey in Karlovy Cary in the Czech Republic this morning.
For the Turkish side, Bahar Caglar top-scored with 8 points.
In a game of firsts — it was the first senior Jayco Opals game for Rachel Jarry, and the first time that Jackson and Harrower have ever played Turkey in senior international competition — it was instead the Turkish side who came out stronger in the first term, applying significant defensive pressure and making it hard for the Jayco Opals to establish themselves in the paint. Turkey took a 10-7 lead into quarter time.
In the second quarter, the Jayco Opals lifted their defensive work rate, and despite still struggling offensively, pegged back the margin. They began controlling the tempo and scores were even at the half time break, 29-29
Head coach Carrie Graf talks a lot about the possession game, and the Jayco Opals were starting to take control of it in the third period, enabling the Aussies to run the floor and knock down some easy baskets.
The team continued to keep their work rate up and controlled the game from there, with a seven point three quarter-time-lead turning into an eight point victory.
Although not an easy win, the Jayco Opals showed class to come out on top under difficult circumstances. But Turkey also showed that they are an exciting side on the rise and have their sights set on making it through the Olympic Qualification Tournament at the end of this month and earning a London berth.
“It wasn’t a easy win, or a pretty win, particularly offensively, but we ground it out and got the job done,” said head coach Carrie Graf.
The Jayco Opals next game is against Hungary tomorrow.
Jayco Australian Opals 57 (Cambage 16, Bishop 12) defeated Turkey 49 (Caglar 8, Isil 7, Esmeral 7)