Former Mackay player Cobi Crispin wins the rebound for the Australian Gliders.
Former Mackay player Cobi Crispin wins the rebound for the Australian Gliders. FREDERIC J BROWN

Crispin tips Australians for upset

AUSTRALIAN Gliders wheelchair basketball star Cobi Crispin believes the team is not out of medal contention at the London Paralympics despite a seven-point loss to Canada in a pool match.

Australia's first defeat at the Games means they are in danger of missing the playoffs. Their next clash is against group leaders the Netherlands.

While the Netherlands are currently undefeated, the former Mackay player said the Gliders are capable of springing an upset.

"They are going to be another really tough game," she said.

"We will go out like we have in every other game and stick to our game plan and hopefully we'll come out on top."

Crispin was one of Australia's best against Canada, finishing with 12 points.

Amber Merritt (16) top scored for the Gliders while Shelley Chaplin also contributed prominently adding eight points, five rebounds and seven assists.

The Australian team was wasteful early, missing a number of chances from close range as the Canadians broke away to lead 20-12 at quarter-time.

Any fears of a one-sided contest were quickly dashed in the second period as the Gliders produced a spirited fight back, sparked by the defensive efforts of Clare Nott and Kylie Gauci, to trail 33-32 at the main break.

The second half was an even affair early with players from both sides struggling to gain the ascendancy, with the exception of Canadian captain Janet McLachlan who contributed 28 points and 21 rebounds for the game in a player-of-the-match performance.

Despite McLachlan's star performance, Australia remained in touch and then hit the front in the latter stages of the third term.

Unfortunately the Gliders could not maintain the pressure as key players ran into foul trouble.

Gliders coach John Triscari lamented his side's shooting woes but said Canada was made to work hard for the win.

"That was a really tough game, and full credit to Canada, but we can't beat top teams in the world when we only shoot at 34%, that was the key statistic," he said.

"We had a run on them in the third quarter and then we got into foul trouble.

"Two key players in Merritt and Crispin had four fouls so we had to rest them and the momentum then swung back to the Canadians. Basically that's what our problem was."



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