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Jasper Bruce

Opals hopeful of building on WC success

A third-place finish at the World Cup has Australia confident of more success at major competitions. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Australia's women's basketball captain Tess Madgen hopes a strong World Cup campaign has laid the foundations for the rejuvenated side to continue their ascension on the world stage.

The Opals came into their home World Cup hoping to atone for a disappointing Olympic campaign and their highly-publicised divorce with centre Liz Cambage.

In the lead-up to the tournament in Sydney, the hosts had insisted they had moved on from their difficult year but vindication was only ever going to come with results on the court.

Australia topped the competitive Pool B with a 4-1 record and came within two points of storming into the World Cup final, going down to China 61-59 in the semi-finals.

Relegated to the third-place match but undeterred, the Opals thrashed Canada with the help of comeback queen Lauren Jackson and clinched their fourth World Cup bronze medal.

While the Opals had designs on gold, Madgen said they could take confidence heading into the 2023 Asia Cup and the Paris Olympics the year after that.

"We're full of hope," she told AAP.

"We've really established what we stand for as a team now and I don't think that'll slide.

"We'll just keep getting stronger and better."

Culture concerns dogged the Opals when Cambage left camp just a week out from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games but Madgen said the unity displayed on the charge to the podium heralded a new dawn for the Australian team.

"Ask any one of us and we'll tell you, it's the best team we've been a part of, it's the best culture," she said.

"Really it comes down to Sandy (coach Sandy Brondello) and all the work she's done behind the scenes with our culture and really embedding that.

"I hope we did Australia proud because we are sure proud of what we've established."

A rib injury to key player Bec Allen threatened to derail the campaign midway through the tournament but Madgen said Australia's ability to recover from this setback was testament to the team's culture.

"Every night someone stepped up," Madgen said.

"There was always a team-first mentality at the top of their minds and that was super evident.

"You could see all tournament how tough and resilient and relentless we wanted to play."

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