Griffin Powers Australia Past Japan
Former Nebraska All-American Kelsey Griffin erupted for 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds to help power the Australian National Team to an 83-74 win over defending Asia Cup champion Japan on Tuesday in Bangalore, India.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, hit 7-of-11 shots from the field, including 1-of-2 three-point attempts to help secure a perfect 3-0 record in pool play for the Opals. Griffin added four assists and a blocked shot in 29 minutes in her third career game for the Australians, who earned the top seed in qualifying for the quarterfinal round.
Griffin scored five early points to keep the Opals within striking distance of hot-shooting Japan in the early going, then erupted on a 7-0 run of her own that included her three-pointer to give Australia a 30-24 lead. As a team, Australia shot a sizzling 12-of-20 (60 percent) from three-point range in the victory.
Through three games of pool play at the Asia Cup, Griffin averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while hitting 61.5 percent (16-26) of her field goal attempts including 60 percent (3-5) of her three-point attempts for Australia. She knocked down 83.3 percent (5-6) of her free throws, while averaging 19:26 playing time per game.
Griffin and Australia will enjoy Wednesday off in preparation for their quarterfinal game against North Korea on Thursday. A quarterfinal win will guarantee Australia a top-four finish at the Asia Cup and secure a spot for the Opals at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Australian National Team
2017 Asia Cup
Bangalore, India, July 23-29
July 23: Australia 78, South Korea 54
July 24: Australia 107, Philippines 65
July 25: Australia 83, Japan 74
July 27: Quarterfinals: Australia vs. North Korea
July 28: Semifinals
July 29: Bronze and Gold medal games