Lauren Jackson led all scorers with 18 points as she inspired an 18-0 run in between the first two quarters which ended the Olympic hosts’ dreams of a possible win in-front of a passionate home crowd.
Australian-born Natalie Stafford, sporting a black-eye suffered in a pre-Olympic scrimmage against Russia led Great Britain with 12 points, supported by Johannah Leedham’s 10 points.
Despite defeat, it was a credible first performance for GB against an experienced Olympic outfit. The hosts cut the lead to 13 mid-way through the fourth, but the Aussie Opals had an answer for every test GB gave them.
China upset disappointing Czech Republic
China started the 2012 Games with a deserved 66-57 win over Czech Republic.
Zengyu Ma led China with 16 points as the Asians held a double digit lead for the majority of the game thanks to quick and flawless ball movement, as their European counterparts struggled to cope with China’s quick hands.
China’s captain Lijie Miao added 12 points and eight assists in victory.
The Czechs narrowed the gap to seven at the end of the third at 51-44, as they shot the ball exceptionally well but China hit back to stamp their authority and claim the first win of the 2012 Olympic basketball tournament.
Eva Viteckova led the Czechs with 14 points and six rebounds.
Russia come from behind to defeat Canada
Canada squandered a double-digit lead to fall 58-53 to Russia in game two.
Leading 50-40 mid-way through the fourth, Canada looked comfortable, but they only scored three more points as Russia, led by Becky Hammon scored 18 points in the final four and a half minutes to claim victory.
Hammon ended with 14 points, leading the victorious Russians. Alena Danilochkina added 10.
Kim Smith led all scorers in vain for Canada with 20 points, including five three-pointers, shooting 71% from deep.
Turkey ease past Angola
Turkey led from tip to buzzer as they brushed aside fellow Olympic new-comers Angola 72-50.
A 15-0 start from Turkey was enough to see-off Angola, who put up a fight in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 10 at 35-25, but were unfortunately never in the game.
Turkey, who shot 50% from three-point land were led by Tugba Palazoglu who led all scorers with 13 points with American-born Kuanitra Holingsvorth adding 10 points and four rebounds.
Angola were led by captain Nacissela Mauricio who grabbed 11 points, but a mention must go to Catarina Camufal, who, at 5’6 was fearless going to the rim and constantly attacking Turkey’s front line. She ended with 8 points.
USA topple gutsy Croatia
USA didn’t have all their own way, but they saw off Croatia 81-56 in the second game of the afternoon session.
After being held scoreless for the first eight minutes of the game, Croatia were fortunate that the U.S. were not exactly firing on all cylinders themselves, by the time the Croats opened their account, the USA only had nine points on the board.
Croatiai were behind 11-4 after one, and showed great improvement in the second quarter as both teams traded leads. The U.S. though were too quick, as they wore Croatia down, scoring 16 straight points in the fourth to extend the lead to 69-49.
USA never looked back from there.
Tina Charles led Team USA with 14 points, supported by 13 from Angel McCoughtry.
Jelena led all scorers with 22 points for Croatia.
France defeat the Brazilians
A 9-0 run in the fourth was enough for France to record a 73-58 success over Brazil in the first game of the evening session.
It was a 21-9 fourth quarter scoreline to be precise as Brazil’s offensive flair wore off leaving the Europeans free to take advantage.
French captain Celine Dumerc led the winners with a game-high 23 points, the only player in double digits for her side.
Brazil were led by Erika Souza’s 17 points, but turned the ball over six times.