Rotunno helps Gems take out Asian Cup

September 12, 2022 | Sydney Flames news

Lilly Rutonno and her Australian Gems at the 2022 FIBA under 18 women’s Asian Championships gold medalists, after defeating China in Sunday’s decider.

On route to the big dance in India, Sydney Flames’ Rotunno and her Australian outfit rattled off impressive wins against the hosts (116-49), New Zealand (111-49), Korea (96-66) and Chinese Taipei (70-61) in the semi-final.

Then in the grand final in Bengaluru, the Gems, who also featured Flames training partner and current Centre of Excellence athlete Saffron Shiels, downed China 81-55.


This result also booked Australia’s spot at the 2023 World Cup in Madrid next July.

“This Australian group went to India with a goal of taking home the gold medal and it’s great to see they achieved it in such comprehensive fashion,” Flames coach Shane Heal said.

“Although they won most of their matches easily, I know all of the games presented the Gems with different challenges against different styles of play – all of which will help the athletes grow as players.

“From an individual perspective, the international experience for Lilly, in representing her country, will really benefit her as she prepares to start practicing against pros on a day-to-day basis as a Flame.

“Additionally, with a World Cup already under her belt, it was awesome to see Saffron continue to grow into one of the country’s best junior players.”

Rotunno will now return to Sydney ahead of the start of the Flames’ WNBL23 pre-season, which tips off on September 21.

“I’m excited to bring Lilly in the coming weeks, as we identified her as one of the best up-and-coming players in the country,” Heal said.

“She will continue to learn by playing against the likes of Shyla [Heal] and Tiana [Mangakahia]  when she arrives.”