By Cheryl Coward and Lee Michaelson
Group A – Australia 89, France 71 Box Score
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Australian Opals became the first team to move to 3-0 after defeating France 89-71 on the fourth day of the Rio Games. Led by team captain Penny Taylor, the Aussies did not come out slow and need to mount a second half comeback like in the team’s previous games this Olympics, first against Brazil and then versus Belarus.
Taylor is retiring at the end of the WNBA season so this will be her last Olympics. She finished with 31 points, five rebounds, nine assists, three steals. She shot 10-of-13 from the field and made all eight of her free throws.
When asked what her plans were after retirement she replied “a lot of time at the beach….. rest and walk the dog and cook. That’s about it for now.”
“I look forward to staying in basketball,” she added, “hopefully coaching in the future.”
“We just needed a game where we were all on the same page defensively,” Taylor said about the win over France. “We know we can do it but we haven’t quite figured it out for an extended period of time. Everyone that came in continued that intensity.”
After breaking a tie within the first minute after a free throw from Liz Cambage, Australia never looked back and led for the rest of the game. At the half, the Opals had a 46-29 advantage.
Taylor’s teammates were impressed with her performance.
“She’s a world-class player,” said center Marianna Tolo, “probably one of the best players to ever play.”
Tolo had 14 points and four rebounds. Cambage also put up impressive numbers finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Olivia Epoupa paced France with 15 points and seven rebounds. Sandrine Gruda and Endy Miyem scored 10 points each.
Epoupa’s take on Taylor’s dominant perfomance:
“We let her be confident on her shots, and we made a lot of mistakes in defense, and our strength is in defense.
Australia is back in action on Tuesday against Japan. France faces Brazil on the same day.
Other Tuesday Results