After demolishing Mali 118-58, the Australians face off against Serbia on September 25 at 6 pm AEST.
Currently, the Opals find themselves in a four-way tie with Serbia, France, and Japan in the group stage. The only country ahead of them is the Canadians who are undefeated.
Serbia is not a team to overlook. Their roster is full of dynamic talent despite lacking in size. The benefit is Serbia is able to run fast in transition and utilise guard play to their advantage.
It will take a village to defeat a Serbian team whose only loss was by seven to Canada. They will fight until the very end and give Australia trouble. Here are some keys to the game for the Opals.
1. Get back in transition.
As said above, Serbia loves to run in transition. Even though the points off turnovers don't translate to their style of play, only averaging five, they won't hesitate to get down the floor fast.
If the Opals play a smaller lineup, there shouldn't be an issue getting up and down the floor. In the grand scheme of the game, it's going to be reliant on if the post players can hustle down and keep up with the Serbians.
2. Slow down Yvonne Anderson.
There's so much to say about Anderson and her skillset. She's a versatile point guard who is an efficient scorer. Currently, she's leading Serbia in points and assists with 15 and 5.5, respectively. Her efficiency per game also leads the team with a rating of 20.
She and forward Tina Krajisnik are a high-low action tag team. Krajisnik is their second-leading scorer with 13.5 points per game. The pair will look to connect majority of the time. Buckling down on Anderson immediately will break down Serbia's offensive scheme between the two.
3. Use height to your advantage.
Serbia lacks height. Their average is 6 feet even or 183 cm whereas Australia averages 6'2 or 188 cm, even though two inches doesn't seem like a big deal, in the grand scheme of the game it is.
Lauren Jackson hasn't really played much as head coach Sandy Brondello is relying more on her other bigs like Cayla George and Ezi Magbegor. To their credit, they've been playing great and that's nothing to be shocked about.
George and Magbegor are an extremely versatile pair of posts who have valuable skill sets. George spreads the floor with her ability to shoot from anywhere while Magbegor lives in the paint but also shows bursts of extending her range.
In this matchup, if the guards can't get shots up as their height is pretty evenly matched in that position, it will allow the post players to get more touches in the low block. It's just up to them on how it will play out.
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