Lauren Jackson helps Opals recover against Mali in women’s basketball World Cup

The Opals were trailing 10-2 in the opening minutes of their World Cup match against Mali on Friday night at the Sydney Superdome.

It was a worrying start, but that all changed in the blink of an eye when Lauren Jackson and Marianna Tolo came into play.

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The two Opal veterans showed their teammates how to compete and be absolutely relentless, and it all started when Jackson was fouled under the basket and sported that legendary twinkle in her eye as she stood up for herself.

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From that moment on, you just knew Jackson meant business.

That look on Jackson’s face – one of the absolute best efforts for a win for the Opals – has been seen for decades when she previously led Australia to medals on the world stage, but seeing it in 2022 was something given her forced retirement of six very special years due to debilitating knee problems.

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Marianna Tolo
Marianna Tolo proved a dominant force with Lauren Jackson as the Opals came from behind to win.(Getty Images: Kelly Defina)

The presence of Jackson and Tolo at the post changed everything for the Opals and as the team found success moving the ball in and out they never looked back and played beautiful basketball for much of the game resulting in a furious 60- Points win led , 118-58.

After dropping eight points early on, Australia put on a game-changing 19-point run and it was Jackson, Tolo and Steph Talbot who led the attack as they upped the pressure on defense and crucially got to the free-throw line.

Tolo is the perfect no-nonsense player to move on with the task at hand and together with Jackson they calmed things down for the Opals when things could have quickly gotten out of hand.

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