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2019 Australian Opals squad announced

10 January 2019

BASKETBALL: Ahead of a big year that includes the 2019 FIBA women’s Asia Cup and the start of the FIBA women’s qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics and 2022 FIBA World Cup, the Australian Opals squad has been announced.

Featuring 22 players that have competed in the 2018/19 WNBL season, the squad also includes all 12 Opals that won the silver medal at last year’s FIBA World Cup.

The Opals will get together for a camp on the Gold Coast from April 12-18 and a second camp will be held in Phoenix, Arizona from July 20-31 before the team for the Asia Cup is announced in August.

“These camps will be a great opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate a larger group of players and target the ones who we believe will have the best chance of making the tournaments later in the year,” said head coach Sandy Brondello.

Sami Whitcomb and Alex Bunton, who made their national team debuts at the FIBA World Cup, have been named in the squad while the likes of Bec Cole, Darcee Garbin, Lauren Nicholson, Tahlia Tupaea, Kristy Wallace and Alex Wilson will be aiming to make their way into their first ever Opals team.

“I am most happy to see the injured players like Tolo, Mitchell and Sara Blicavs return to the squad,” said Brondello.

“We faced a lot of adversity in 2018 with all of the injuries we encountered and even though we had a great experience at the World Cup, having these players back will only make us a better team moving forward.”

Aus Opals

Recently touring the country to take in as many Chemist Warehouse WNBL games as possible has helped Brondello in naming the squad.

“I think the overall standard of the WNBL has gotten better. I am seeing more improved skills as individuals and as a team. The competition is fierce and the physicality and speed continues to get better which are all pleasing aspects for me.”

This squad announcement is an exciting first step in what will be a significant year for the Opals.

“Following the Asia Cup in September, we have the very important qualifiers for our region in November,” said Brondello.

“A top-four finish during that qualifier will see us advance to the Pre-Olympic tournament in February where we will play against the qualifiers from the rest of the world to determine the final 12 spots for Tokyo.

“With so much at stake, every camp and the games we have together will be crucial to continue our development and chemistry as a team so that we are performing at our best when it matters.”

The January 2019 Australian Opals squad:

NAME

TEAM

Rebecca Allen

Basket90 Gydinia, Poland

Abby Bishop

PEAC Pecs, Hungary

Stephanie Blicavs

Adelaide Lightning

Sara Blicavs

Jayco Rangers

Alexandra Bunton*

Brydens Sydney Uni Flames

Elizabeth Cambage

Shanxi Xing Rui Flame, Taiyuan, Shanxi China

Rebecca Cole

Jayco Rangers

Katie Ebzery

Perth Lynx

Darcee Garbin

JCU Townsville Fire

Cayla George

Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Kelsey Griffin

University of Canberra Capitals

Tessa Lavey

Jayco Rangers

Tess Madgen

JCU Townsville Fire

Eziyoda Magbegor

Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Lauren Mansfield

Perth Lynx

Leilani Mitchell

University of Canberra Capitals

Lauren Nicholson

Adelaide Lightning

Jenna O'Hea

Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Lauren Scherf

University of Canberra Capitals

Nicole Seekamp

Adelaide Lightning

Alanna Smith

Stanford University

Stephanie Talbot

Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Marianna Tolo

University of Canberra Capitals

Tahlia Tupaea

Brydens Sydney Uni Flames

Kristy Wallace*

University of Canberra Capitals

Sami Whitcomb

Lattes Montpellier, France

Alex Wilson*

Brydens Sydney Uni Flames

** Status – Injured at time of squad announcement

Basketball Australia

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