The Opals’ gold medal win over England came despite the first-half ejection of Australian star Liz Cambage. (AP: Mark Schiefelbein)
Australia has won the gold medal in women’s basketball on the penultimate night of the Commonwealth Games, but the Opals had to play more than half the game without star Liz Cambage after she was ejected for talking back to a referee.
The host nation also clinched gold late in the night as the Kookaburras sent Mark Knowles out a winner with a win over New Zealand in the men’s hockey final.
Australia beat England 99-55 in a crushing display, but they finished the game with only 11 players after the incident involving Cambage.
The 203cm tall Cambage was being targeted constantly by the English players — midway through the second quarter she was called for an unsportsmanlike play foul, and after voicing her displeasure, the Australian was called for a technical foul and ejected from the game.
Basketball Australia tweet: Tempers flaring in the #GC2018Basketball final and Cambage has been sensationally ejected! Opals lead 32-18 almost halfway through the second term #GoOpals
Cambage laughed in disbelief when given the decision, then walked off the court and into the rooms waving her hands at the crowd and smiling.
She had only had eight minutes 55 seconds on court when ejected, and her totals for the night were 10 points, one blocked shot and one rebound.
The drama made little difference to the result, with the Opals maintaining their 100 per cent record at the Commonwealth Games. The only other time basketball was played at the Games was at Melbourne in 2006, where the Opals beat New Zealand in the gold medal game.
Australia had led 26-10 at quarter-time, and by half-time the score was 49-31.
Playing without Cambage in the second half, Australia still dominated, winning the third quarter 29-16 to lead 78-47 going into the final section of the game.
In Cambage’s absence, Cayla George and Kelsey Griffin led the scoring with 16 points each, as every member of the Australian bench got on the board.
Australian legend Belinda Snell announced her retirement after the game.
Earlier, New Zealand had won the bronze medal, beating Canada 74-58.
Kookaburras seal the deal, Hockeyroos lose to NZ
The Kookaburras went one better than the Hockeyroos, winning the gold medal with a win over New Zealand. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
There were mixed fortunes for Australia’s hockey teams, with the Kookaburras winning gold, but the women’s team going down in their gold medal game.
The men’s team were up against New Zealand, and the Kookas won 2-0 to seal a sixth straight Commonwealth Games title.
Both teams had met in Pool A on the way to the final, with Australia winning a tight match 2-1.
The gold medal game started off in similar vein, with a goal-less first quarter, before Aaron Kleinschmidt opened the scoring for Australia early in the second term.
The Kookaburras tightened their control of the game a couple of minutes before half-time, when Matthew Dawson scored from a penalty corner.
Australian captain Mark Knowles, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony in his final Commonwealth Games, had a chance to put his mark on the win, but he missed a late penalty to leave the score at 2-0.
Australia’s run of consecutive Commonwealth golds in the women’s hockey ended after New Zealand came up the stronger in a 4-1 win against the Hockeyroos.
New Zealand’s Shiloh Gloyn scored the opening goal against the Hockeyroos. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)
New Zealand looked up for the fight from the start, at first resisting Australian pressure before making a true contest of it in a tight, tense match.
Shiloh Gloyn hammered home in the second period to stun the Hockeyroos and put New Zealand 1-0 to the good at a rain-soaked Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
Rose Keddell then doubled the lead for New Zealand in the third quarter, before Olivia Merry drilled in a third from a penalty corner to seal gold for the Black Sticks.
The seeds of revival were sown when Jodie Kenny drag-flicked the ball in from a penalty corner to bring the deficit back to 3-1.
Australia tried to chase the game, but the Black Sticks iced the win from another penalty corner as Anita McLaren applied the finish.
The result denies the Hockeyroos a fourth-consecutive gold at the Commonwealth Games, with New Zealand claiming its first triumph in women’s hockey.
Diamonds to play England for netball gold
Australia has qualified for the gold medal game in netball, with a 65-44 win over New Zealand in the semi-finals to set up a final against England.
The Diamonds went in as hot favourites, given the Black Ferns’ stunning 57-53 Pool B loss to Malawi and a 54-45 defeat to England before the knockout stages.
New Zealand hopes of a rebound against their old rivals took an early hit, with Australia jumping to an 18-12 lead after one quarter.
By half-time the Diamonds led 32-21, and as New Zealand continued to struggle in attack, the Black Ferns were trailing by an even 20 goals with a quarter left.
Australian Diamonds tweet: We’re through! A huge win over @SilverFernsNZ and the gold medal game beckoning tomorrow! #GoDiamonds @GC2018 #GC2018
Playing for pride, the New Zealand side held the Australians almost level in the final quarter, but it was an easy victory for Lisa Alexander’s team.
Caitlin Thwaites was Australia’s top-scorer with 24 goals out of 25 attempts, and there was solid support from Caitlin Bassett with 17 goals and 15 from Susan Pettitt.
Goal attack Maria Folau played a lone hand for the Black Ferns with 32 goals, but it was nowhere near enough.
Earlier, England and Jamaica played out a thrilling semi-final, with the English grabbing a place in the gold medal game with a 56-55 win courtesy of a final-second goal from Jo Harten.
Jamaica had led by six goals at half-time, before the English narrowed the gap to four with a quarter to play.
The scores were level with 20o seconds to play, as England went in search of the winner.
Helen Housby missed a shot to win the match, but the ball came back to Harten, who held her nerve to net the decisive goal as time ran out.
Aussie men miss semis in rugby sevens, women to face Canada
Australia’s women’s team have emerged undefeated from their pool in the rugby sevens, setting up a semi-final clash with Canada.
The women’s team had scored two solid wins on Friday, but they were pushed all the way in their final Pool B game against Fiji before winning 17-10.
It was 5-5 at half-time, after tries to Emma Tonegato and Miriama Naiobasali.
Charlotte Caslick scored early in the second half, and although Naiobasali answered for the Fijians, Caslick sealed the win with a late try after Pricilla Stata had been sin-binned with just over two minutes left.
The men’s team began on Saturday with a 24-7 win over Samoa, and followed up with a six tries to one performance against Jamaica for a 32-5 win.
However the crunch match was their final Pool B outing against England, where the Australians were tied 12-12 at half-time before going down 26-17.
The result means that Australia will face Kenya for placings 5-8 on Sunday, while the two semi-finals will pit England against New Zealand and South Africa versus Fiji.