NOT TO SCRIPT: Penny Taylor in action for the Opals in Rio.
NOT TO SCRIPT: Penny Taylor in action for the Opals in Rio. Christian Petersen

Sad end to Taylor's Opals career

BASKETBALL: As a kid obsessed with basketball, Penny Taylor dreamed of playing for Australia at the Olympics.

She did it three times - but the last was not so sweet.

The usually stoic Taylor, one of the finest basketballers the nation has produced, was reduced to tears after her final Games with the Opals.

A quarter-final loss to an unfancied Serbia ended her hope of a third Olympic medal and sixth straight for her country.

Taylor won silver in Athens and Beijing, but missed the 2012 London Games through injury. She returned from several knee surgeries to lead Australia to a bronze medal at the 2014 world championships and was intent on seeing out her international career in Rio.

Gold was the aim. Instead, she walks away with nothing.

"It's pretty upsetting,” the 35-year-old said. "For a kid growing up in basketball, this is the ultimate. To represent your country, to be named one of the best basketballers in your country is huge.

"That was always my goal and it hurts a little to not have done that so well today.”

Asked whether she'd still reflect positively on the experience in Rio, a frank Taylor said: "Not really. I doubt it. We expect a lot of ourselves. More than this.

"But the future's bright for this team. We've got so many young players that are going to be there for a long time.”

Coach Brendan Joyce said the team wanted to send Taylor out a winner.

"I feel for her, finishing with the Opals this way,” he said.

Taylor will retire from all forms of basketball at the end of the WNBA season with the Phoenix Mercury.

AAP


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