Opals Beat Brazil, Move One Step Closer to Olympic Qualification

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
10/02/2024
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Opals Edge Brazil to move closer to Paris 2024 Qualification

The Australian Opals narrowly took down hosts Brazil 60-55 to push themselves to the brink of Olympic qualification.  

News Insights

  • Offense sputters but Opals get the result
  • Lauren Jackson still making an impact looking for her fifth Olympic games
  • Aussie’s now on the brink of qualification
  • Sunday’s matchup with Germany could see the Opals through with a win

The Australian Opals travelled to Brazil looking to qualify for the Paris Olympics. Their opening test was against the host Brazilians who proved difficult, but the Opals held their nerve to come out on top and are now all but ensured entry to the Olympic Games.  

Opals Vs. Brazil Game Recap 

The world no.3 Opals travelled to Brazil for a short, three-game qualifying event with Brazil, Germany, and Serbia.  
 
With three of the four teams qualifying, and Australia having the highest ranking, it was heavily expected that they would make their way through. However, all four teams are very capable sides, and these matchups must still be met with desire and quality play.  
 
The Opals showed both those traits in their opening victory over Brazil.  
 
The opening frame started really well for the Opals as they quickly jumped out to a 10-3 lead. They were unable to sustain this however and Brazil brought the game level at 10 just a minute later.  
 
The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair with neither team being able to gain a substantial lead as the Opals finished on top 19-16. 
 
The second quarter was strong for the Opals as they ramped up their defensive effort and held Brazil to just seven points.  
 
Ezi Magbegor scored six points quickly to push Australia’s lead to 25-19 and they didn’t look back from there. The Opals made a pair of threes late in the quarter and headed into the dressing room up 33-23.  
 
The third quarter must more tightly contested as the two teams traded baskets with the Opal lead hovering between nine and 13 points until the three-and-a-half-minute mark.  
 
Some sloppy play and careless turnovers led to a 12-3 brazil run to end the quarter as the teams headed into the final frame with the Opals leading by just two.  
 
The fourth quarter began and the Aussie’s still couldn’t get out of their shooting slump as Brazil took a 52-49 lead with six minutes to play. It was Cayla George who finally broke the Opal’s six-minute scoreless drought with a mid-range jumper.  
 
Australia would then take the lead on a Bec Allen three pointer. It was a clear defensive battle as points were difficult to come by for both teams in the fourth.  
 
Tied at 55 with just one minute to go, George hit a clutch three to give the Opals a three-point lead. A pair of brilliant blocks from Ezi Magbegor would seal the game for the Opals as they didn’t give up another basket and hit a last second layup to finish with the 60-55 victory.

Lauren Jackson Looking for Fifth Olympic Berth 

Opal legend Lauren Jackson is now on the brink of her fifth Olympic appearance thanks to the win. The 42-year-old has found an inexplicable resurgence as she looks to return to the Olympic stage 12 years after her last Games.  
 
She played eight minutes off the bench and contributed three points in the win.

Australia on the Brink of Qualification Heading into Germany Matchup

Having to finish in the top three of the four team pool, the victory should likely be enough for the Opals to qualify.  
 
They have a chance to lock in their berth however on Sunday morning when they play Germany. Coming off an upset of Serbia, the Germans are playing quality basketball but the Opals will still be heavy favourites and expect to come out on top.  
 
Should the Opals fall to Germany however, they will have another chance to lock in their spot on Monday against Serbia.

The Australian Opals are considered one of the best teams in the world and are hoping to make a deep run at the Olympics after disappointing results at the last two Games. With their win over Brazil they all but locked up their spot with two qualification games still to come.