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Adrian Warren

Opals beat South Korea to make Asia Cup semis

The Opals bench cheer during their Women's Asia Cup match against South Korea. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

The Opals have produced their best performance of the women's basketball Asia Cup and avoided the ignominy of failing to qualify for next year's Olympics, with a strong 91-64 win over South Korea on Friday.

Australia produced much more energy and discipline and executed far better at both ends of the court than in the 25-point loss to Japan on Wednesday.

That result in the eight-team tournament in Sydney meant Japan topped the group and forced the Opals into a cut-throat classification match for the semi-finals.

Australia responded superbly, dominating South Korea and booked a semi-final clash with China, while Japan will play New Zealand in Saturday's other last four matchup following their 83-78 win over the Philippines on Friday.

A loss to South Korea would have resulted in Australia failing to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since the 1992 Games.

"The pressure was quite enormous, but we had a players meeting yesterday, to fix some (things) sticking to the game plan, playing tough, getting back to Opals brand basketball," captain and guard Tess Madgen said.

Madgen, who was named player of the match, was joint top-scorer for Australia with 14 points and also contributed six rebounds and five assists.

Australia won the rebound count 48-23 and shot at 51 per cent from the field.

They took control with a 16-0 run in the first quarter, with the Opals finishing that term with a 31-16 lead.

They blew their advantage out to 21 in the second quarter and carried a 52-33 advantage into halftime.

South Korea won the third quarter but never got the deficit into single figures, with the Opals reasserting themselves in the fourth.

"It was a very physical hit out, given the stakes we're really relieved to get through that one and play as well as we did," acting Opals head coach Shannon Seebohm said.

"It's probably the best game we've played so far as a team, both sides of the ball. We shared the ball really well and we started the game exceptionally well.

"I thought we had the right level of intensity and made it very hard for them to get consistent good shots."

Centre Lauren Scherf was massive early in the game and finished with 14 points and nine boards.

She dominated her critical matchup with the taller Jisu Park, with the 198cm South Korean not playing in the second half due to conditioning issues.

Forward Keely Froling was again good off the bench, amassing 13 points and six rebounds in just over 16 minutes.

Seebohm made the first change to his starting lineup for the tournament, bringing Maddison Rocci into the backcourt for Lauren Nicholson.

Rocci scored seven of her nine points in the first quarter and together with Scherf and Darcee Garbin, who finished with 11, helped ignite the Opals from the start.

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