Pearls, Australia's National Women's Team for Players with an Intellectual Disability.
The Pearls are currently ranked second in the world after winning silver at the 2008 INAS-FID World Cup in Italy, after falling to Russia 62-46 in the gold medal match.
June 1, 2009: Audio - Pearls Captain Perry gears up for Global Games
May 28, 2009: Kim Perry to captain the Australian Pearls
May 25, 2009: Pearls to shine at Global Games
Basketball Australia has two national teams for athletes with an intellectual disability, the Pearls (women) and Boomerangs (men). While the Boomerangs did not compete in 2008, the Pearls participated in the inaugural INAS-FID World Cup in Italy in November and finished 2008 ranked number two in the world after winning a Silver Medal at the event.
Kim Perry was named as Pearls’ captain in October, nine years after her international debut in 1999, and provided invaluable leadership to the five rookies on the team throughout the 2008 campaign.
The Australians started their campaign with a win over Mexico in overtime, 63-54, despite trailing 21-6 after one quarter, with rookies Kaitlyn Papworth, Melissa Marlborough and Eliza Barden making their first baskets for Australia to contribute to the fight-back. Kim Larkin had the opportunity to win the game when she was awarded two free throws with Australia down 52-51 as the clock expired. She missed the first shot but made the second and sent the game into overtime. The Pearls took control in the extra period and won by seven points, with Larkin top-scoring with 16 points.
Barden top-scored with 14 points for Australia in the second game, leading the Pearls in a crushing eighty point victory over France, 92-12. The team backed up the next day with a 97-28 win against an inexperienced Portugal side as rookies Marlborough and Barden topped the score sheet again, joined by team Captain Perry.
On the final day of competition the Pearls faced an undefeated Russian side and in Australia’s toughest game of the tournament they were defeated by sixteen points, 62-46.
The Pearls finished the World Cup with seven points, behind Russia (eight) and ahead of Mexico (six), France (five) and Portugal (four).
Coach Larry Davidson praised the entire Australian team at the event’s conclusion and made special mention of rookie Natasha Nolan for her speed and toughness in the final game in which she scored a team-high 11 points.
The tournament provided invaluable international experience to the young Australian team which will help them in their quest to win the 2009 Global Games campaign, which will be played in the Czech Republic in July 2009.
The Australian women’s team for athletes with an intellectual disability that competed at the 2008 INAS-FID World Cup in Italy:
Kim Larkin – VIC
Mina Aldobasic - VIC
Bernadette Barden – NSW
Eliza-Jane Barden – NSW
Kaitlyn Papworth – VIC
Melissa Marlborough – ACT
Molly Urquhart-Moran - VIC
Nicole Skerman - QLD
Kim Perry – NSW - Captain
Natasha Nolan - VIC
Karina Baines – NSW
Renay Hall – VIC
Danielle Burden – VIC
Staff: Larry Davidson (Head Coach), Jo Larkin (Assistant Coach), Sally Duncan (Manager)