Basketball Australia Names Opals Training Squad for 2018
2017 was a time of change for Australia’s Women’s national basketball team known as the Opals. The traditional Oceania powerhouse has found itself in new waters as they competed in the first edition of the 2017 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup where they finished a close second against a Japan 74-73 in the finals.
Despite the defeat, Australia has qualified to the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup that will be held in Spain 22-30 September 2018. The Opals will also be hosting several nations in the 2018 Commonwealth games in the Gold Coast from 4 and 15 April 2018.
In what is to be another busy calendar for the Opals, head coach Sandy Brondello is starting the program this early by naming the training squad for summer training right after the holidays.
The Opals squad consists of: Rebecca Allen, Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop, Stephanie Blicavs, Elizabeth Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Cayla George, Kelsey Griffin, Natalie Hurst, Alice Kunek, Tessa Lavey, Ezi Magbegor, Lauren Mansfield, Leilani Mitchell, Jenna O’Hea, Belinda Snell, Stephanie Talbot, Marianna Tolo.
Missing from the squad is four-time Olympian Laura Hodges, who has declared her retirement from international tournaments with the team.
Bendigo’s Kelsey Griffin was named despite still in the process of recovering from a hip injury.
“This squad has been selected based upon performance levels in the various leagues in which the athletes compete as well as at past Opals camps and the recent FIBA Asia Cup in India,” Opals head coach Sandy Brondello as quoted by the Bendigo Advertiser.
“Beyond that tournament, we are also preparing for the FIBA World Cup which will be held in Spain in September, 2018, following our successful qualification at the FIBA Asia Cup earlier this year.”
In FIBA Women’s World Championship that was held in Turkey back in 2014, the Opals finished third in the event with a 74-44 victory over the home team to grab bronze.
The Opals as hosts are drawn in Pool A of the Commonwealth Games alongside Canada, England and Mozambique. Pool B consists of New Zealand, Jamaica, India and Malaysia.
Image courtesy of FIBA