PORIRUA (2013 FIBA U19 World Championship/2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - Dante Exum and Stephanie Talbot starred for their respective teams as Australia's men and women's teams both swept New Zealand 3-0 to book spots at the 2013 FIBA World Championship and 2013 FIBA World Championship for Women.
The Australian men's qualification fills the 16-team field for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, which will take place in Czech Republic from 27 June-7 July. The women's field still has five more spots to be determined.
The 16 men's teams will be hosts Czech Republic; the five-team European contingent of Croatia, Lithuania, Serbia, Russia and Spain; FIBA Americas representatives United States, Brazil, Canada and Argentina; Asian sides China, Korea and Iran; and FIBA Africa's two teams Senegal and Ivory Coast.
Exum, who helped Australia to silver at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, averaged 14.3 points, 6 assists, 4.7 assists and 3 steals in guiding the Australian U18 team to 85-64, 95-70 and 93-60 victories over New Zealand, who were playing at home in Porirua.
Exum was assisted by two other stars from the U17 World Championship team in Nicholas Duncan (averaged 10 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1.7 steals) and Mirko Djeric (9.3 points, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals). The other star for the Emus was 18-year-old forward Dane Pineau (14 points, 6.7 rebounds).
The Australians also got a big game from Jack Lopez in the first contest with 12 points on 4-of-7 three-pointers while Michael Rowley scored 17 points and Fabijan Krslovic had 13 points on a combined 14 of 15 shooting in Game Two while combining for eight rebounds and three assists.
New Zealand never really challenged despite Reuben Te Rangi averaging 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists as the Junior Tall Blacks' top man.
The New Zealand women gave Australia a scare in Game One, until the Gems won 72-65 thanks to a 9-0 run over more than three minutes late in the game. Casey Samuels had 22 points and Alex Wilson scored 17 for the Australians.
Australia's other two wins were much more comfortable, taking the sweep by beating the Junior Tall Ferns 89-55 and 83-54.
Samuels led the Australians in scoring with 16.7 points while Talbot averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.7 steals. Carley Mijovic added 13.7 points, 8 rebounds and 1.7 assists and Darcee Lee Garbin chiped in 7 points and 6.7 rebounds.
New Zealand's only real threat was Penina Davidson, who collected 14.7 points, 10 rebounds, 3.7 steals, 2.7 blocks and 1.7 assists per game.
Australia became the 11th team to qualify for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women from 18-29 July in Lithuania.
The other teams with spots are hosts Lithuania; the Europeans France, Russia, Serbia, Netherlands and Spain; and the FIBA Americas quartet United States, Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
Two berths will be decided on September 29 when the FIBA Africa U18 Championship for Women concludes in Senegal. And the final three qualifiers will be determined on October 6 when the FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women ends in Malaysia.