Sydney Uni Flames Academy Program representative Vanessa Panousis has inspired the Under 17 Australian women’s basketball team to finish the 2012 FIBA Under 17 Women’s World Championship on a high, defeating Italy 58-49 to claim fifth place at the tournament in Amsterdam on Sunday night.
A double-double from point guard Panousis (11 points 13 rebounds) led the charge to ensure the Australian team finished with a win-loss record of 5-3 for the tournament and claimed an impressive fifth-place result.
“We wanted to finish in the medals, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that,” Panousis told FIBA.
“But we are stoked to finish fifth.”
Panousis, the only NSW representative in the team, led the Australian charge throughout the tournament, putting up the impressive numbers of 11 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while racking up a team-high 234 minutes on the court.
It was a strong end to the championships for Australia, winning four of their final five games on their way to a finish just outside the medal spots.
In 2010 the Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames launched the Flames Academy Program as part of the club’s ongoing commitment to developing elite young NSW female athletes.
With the support of Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF), the Flames possess an Academy squad of around 15 athletes ranging in ages from 16 to 19 years.
Panousis, and the rest of the Flames Academy Program squad, take part in regular individual and small group on-court sessions, along with supervised strength and conditioning with a view to developing future Flames WNBL players. Panousis’s future certainly looks bright after a dominant Under 17’s tournament in Holland.
In other news, Flames guard Katie-Rae Ebzery has won bronze after the Australian women’s basketball team bounced back from their semi-final loss to defeat Ukraine 18-17 in the third-fourth playoff at the inaugural FIBA 3X3 World Championship in Athens.
The Australian team of Ebzery, Alice Kunek, Tess Madgen and Sara Blicavs finished the tournament with an impressive 8-1 record. The only loss they suffered was at the hands of the eventual tournament winners the United States, which they dropped 19-18 in the semi-finals.
Ebzery will line up for the Flames for their first WNBL fixture of the 2012/13 season is against Canberra at SUSAC on Friday October 6.
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