B2022: Diamonds claim Gold
Four years after their heartbreak on the Gold Coast the Australian Diamonds have turned the tables with a stunning victory over powerhouse Jamaica.
The Australian Diamonds will return home from the Commonwealth Games with an additional accessory, in the form of a gold medal, after defeating Jamaica at the final hurdle.
The Diamonds went into the match with an unchanged line up from their semi final win against the England Roses.
The Aussies were challenged from the first whistle with Jamaica’s defensive unit of Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson making it hard for the Diamonds to find an easy pass into the circle.
But they remained resilient and focused as they found ways to work the ball into Steph Wood and Gretel Bueta in front of a crowd predominately cheering on Jamaica.
The Diamonds were able to break away to a six-goal lead off the back of a Courtney Bruce intercept halfway through the quarter, but the Sunshine Girls fought back with their defensive efforts narrowing the margin back down to two goals at the first break.
The Sunshine Girls started fast and quickly squared the ledger. It was goal for goal during much of the second quarter prompting Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich to switch up positions to create some more movement and defensive pressure on the Jamaicans.
Cara Koenen was injected into the game alongside Sarah Klau and both players made an impact with Klau confusing the space for the Jamaicans, allowing Bruce – who had donned the GD bib – Ash Brazill and Kate Moloney to challenge passes from the Sunshine Girls.
Koenen was strong in attack working alongside Bueta to create space for each other in the goal circle.
At half time scores were level 29 all, setting up an exciting third quarter.
The Diamonds ignited in the third quarter, the defensive pressure across the court was explosive and within the first five minutes they pushed out to a nine-goal lead.
Australian Diamonds 2022
The Diamonds secured a historic win, bringing home the gold for Australia.
Having found their rhythm on court the transition from defence into attack from the Diamonds was slick with Klau and Bruce leading the charge.
In attack, Koenen and Bueta’s circle movement was in sync and Liz Watson and Kate Moloney were hitting the circle edge with precision.
Ash Brazill’s defensive pressure caused the Jamaican team to make a change and bring on Adean Thomas and from that point onwards the Sunshine Girls pushed back on the Diamonds.
The Diamonds stayed in front to lead by six goals heading into the final 15 minutes.
Jamaica persisted throughout the fourth quarter and challenged the Diamonds with an intercept in the opening few minutes trimming the margin down to four goals.
From that point onwards the Diamonds remained calm and threaded the ball between each other clinically to keep possession and ensure they were as close to the ring as possible before going for goal.
In defence, the Australians kept close to their opponents and kept putting the pressure on them, not wanting to let the Sunshine Girls win any ball back.
As the clock ticked down, the shooting from Bueta and Koenen remained steady and the Diamonds secured the gold in a historic win for Australia 55 to 51.
The gold medal becoming Australia’s 1000th gold in Commonwealth Games History.
By Stephanie Smarrelli , Origin Diamonds Website
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