HIGH-octane guard Katie Ebzery is set to play a key role off the bench when the Opals take on Serbia in the quarter-final of the women’s basketball.
The Opals overcame Belarus 74-66 to top their group and set up a date with the world No.14 Serbs, tipping off at 12am Wednesday (AEST).
After playing four minutes in the 84-66 win over Brazil on day one, Ebzery has become an integral component in coach Brendan Joyce’s rotation. The 26-year-old Newcastle guard scored nine points and provided defensive energy as the Opals hauled in a 13-point deficit against Belarus.
“I really wasn’t happy with our defensive intensity and I thought Rachel Jarry and in particular Katie Rae Ebzery and Tessa Lavey, they really locked in defensively and created some opportunities for us,” Joyce said.
“We know Serbia is a good team but we’ve done the work to be where we are so if we out with a focus and high effort levels we’ll be OK. Then we’ll move on to the next opponent.”
Serbia finished fourth in Pool B with two wins.
In the men’s, fellow Hunter product Damian Martin helped ensure the Boomers finished second in their pool and avoid a rematch with the USA until the medal rounds.
The Gloucester-born Perth Wildcats guard played nearly 21 minutes and provided four assists in the 81-56 win over Venezuela.
Australia’s quarter-final opponent won’t be determined until Tuesday AEST. They’ll face the third-placed team in Group B, which could be any of six teams including heavyweights Spain and hosts Brazil.