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Australia v Mali FIBA Women’s basketball World Cup: Opals start time, teams, stream, TV, Lauren Jackson

There’s no time to dwell for the Aussies, with minnows Mali awaiting on Friday night.

Here’s what we learned from the Opals’ upset defeat in their opener — and what needs to change for the result to be reversed.

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French toast

It didn’t go to play for Australia on opening night but unfortunately for the Opals it wasn’t the first time they’ve stumbled over a French hurdle in the pool stages of a major tournament.

Rewind to London 2012, Australia lost in overtime to France, the untimely defeat eventually derailing their Olympic gold medal hopes.

The game most famous for Belinda Snell’s jaw dropping half court buzzer beater on half time, sadly for the Aussies there were no such highlights in Sydney.

Tempo Tolo

Veteran Marianna Tolo came in and wrestled back some momentum with her grit, desperation and invaluable experience in the third term to have 8 points by three quarter time in as many minutes.

When the Opals needed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals by beating Puerto Rico by 25 points last year it was cometh the moment, cometh Marianna who produced a mammoth 26-point-17 rebound to get her country over the line.

On Thursday night, the 33-year-old again pushed her case for increased minutes and showed she is up for a greater role.

Comeback Queen

If you thought the cheer was loud for Lauren Jackson when she subbed into the game in the first quarter, it didn’t compare to the roar when she sunk a three, the first points of her international comeback and 600th at FIBA level.

Jackson clocked 10 minutes court time in her return and showed age and time away from the game hadn’t impacted her composure and IQ.

Spida’s web

She plies her trade overseas year-round but Bec ‘Spida’ Allen produced quite the homecoming as Australia’s main offensive threat on night one.

Allen set the tone early scoring the first five points of the game and used her length, polish and knack for a basket to make her presence felt. With 16 points, she was the Opals top scorer but went 2/6 from the three showing she can improve, continue to flourish and be a big factor this tournament.

Storm Chaser

Gabby Williams taunted Australia, and her WNBA Seattle Storm teammates Ezi Magbegor and Steph Talbot, with a game-high 23 points.

The gun forward missed last weekend’s Test Event, where the Opals overcame an early deficit to prevail, but stood up superbly in the absence of France’s best player – Marine Johannes – who withdrew from the team on Wednesday with a thigh injury.

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