Worrying Tokyo trend rears its ugly head again in Opals’ World Cup opener

The Opals have been unable to start their 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup campaign on a winning note, last night falling to France 70-57 in a game that showed the Opals have work to do — especially on the offensive end – to compete against the best teams in the world.

In what was a packed-out Sydney Superdome with 9,291 in attendance, Australian fans were out in force hoping to see an Opals win, but French superstar Gabby Williams had other ideas.

The stadium erupted when the legendary Lauren Jackson checked into the game for the first time, and the 41-year-old – who last played for Australia nine years ago – certainly gave Australia some good minutes in the first half and late in the fourth quarter.

Lauren Jackson provided some solid minutes for the Opals, but the team’s shooting problems were an issue throughout the game.(AP: Mark Baker)

Despite the Opals staying within striking distance of France for the first three quarters, it was Australia’s struggles on offence that ultimately sank their hopes of a comeback win.

The Opals’ inability to hit shots meant their defence could only keep them afloat for so long, and eventually France ran over the top as Williams sank a dagger triple in the final two minutes to finish with a game-high 23 points on an efficient 67 per cent shooting from the field.

While Williams was economical, Australia was anything but. The Opals connected on just 26 per cent of shots from the field and a measly 21.7 per cent from deep. Shooting numbers like that and a total of 57 points simply isn’t going to get the job done at a World Cup.

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