LJ, Penny and Opals to play in Oz

LJ, Penny and Opals to play in Oz

Basketball Australia is pleased to announce the world champion Australian Defence Force Opals will play a two game international series against Brazil on home soil in July.

The Opals team will be the one selected to attend the Beijing Games and will include stars Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Kristi Harrower and Belinda Snell, making it the first time since 2000 that a full-strength Opals side has played in Australia.

The series opener will be at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre on Monday 28 July with game two at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Wednesday July 30.

Brazil, ranked fourth in the world, claimed the last spot in Beijing after winning the final of the FIBA Qualifying Tournament for women in Spain last weekend.

“It is a major coup for Australian basketball to have the second and fourth ranked women’s teams in the world playing in the country so close to the Beijing Games,” Basketball Australia Chief Executive Scott Derwin said.

“It’s Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and a full strength Opals side going up against a world class opponent in our own back yard. I’m looking forward to it.”

Brazil needed to defeat Angola and Cuba to progress to Beijing after losing their quarter final at the Qualifying tournament to Belarus while the Czech Republic, Latvia, Spain and the Belarusians all qualified after winning their respective quarter final matches.

Tickets for both games will go on sale on Friday June 20.

Game 1 - Wollongong Entertainment Centre - visit ticketek.com.au or call 132 849.

Game 2 - Sydney Entertainment Centre - visit ticketmaster.com.au or call 1300 883 622.

The Opals last played Brazil at the 2006 World Championship, where they twice defeated the tournament host nation on their way to winning an historic gold medal.

Both games will tip-off at 7pm AET.

The 12-player Opals squad for Beijing will be announced in early July.

The Opals, minus Jackson, Taylor and Tully Bevilaqua, departed Sydney International airport yesterday bound for Brunico, a small town located south of Austria in the Italian Alps, where they will play three games against Russia on June 22, 23 and 24.

Bill Baxter
Basketball Australia
P: (02) 9469 7218
M: 0423 378 644
E: bill.baxter@basketball.net.au