2009 Opals squad named

2009 Opals squad named

Basketball Australia is pleased to announce the 28 athletes selected to the 2009 Australian women’s basketball squad.

All twelve athletes that represented Australia at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and won a Silver Medal have been included despite some potential unavailability.

A dozen athletes from Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) made the squad, including Grand Finalists Abby Bishop, Natalie Hurst and Elyse Penaluna.

Hurst, the 2009 WNBL Grand Final MVP, is one of three debutantes in the squad alongside 20-year old forward Elyse Penaluna and 17-year old Elizabeth Cambage, the youngest member of the group.

Fifteen athletes are expected to attend the first Opals camp of the 2009 campaign at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from April 2-5.

“This is the first phase of the larger campaign towards London 2012,” said new Opals head coach Carrie Graf.

“A lot of our core players are still offshore but some of the Olympians from 2008 will be at our first camp and it’s a good opportunity to see where the new crop of players is at.

“The next six months will be an exciting time for me as a coach to get my teeth into the Opals program and to really see who the developing Opals players are and whether they can push their way into the team for 2010 and 2012.”

The 2009 Opals campaign will include tours to Europe as well as qualification games on home soil against New Zealand for the right to contest the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Captain Lauren Jackson will most likely be engaged in WNBA duties in the United States throughout the Opals’ 2009 campaign, with the same applying for starting guard Belinda Snell.

2006 FIBA World Championship Most Valuable Player Penny Taylor will undergo surgery on her ankle following the conclusion of the European season in May and may also be unavailable.

With a combined total of 1540 games for Australia at the senior level, the average age of the 2009 Opals squad players is 25 years while the average height is 182cm.

The 2009 Australian Opals squad:

(name / age / height / most recent club / senior games for Australia)
(athletes with ‘*’ after their names will attend Opals Camp 1)

Eva AFEAKI* / 24 / 184cm / Sydney Uni Flames / 6

Suzy BATKOVIC / 28 / 194cm / Taranto (Italy) / 115

Tully BEVILAQUA* / 36 / 164cm / Indiana Fever (USA) / 46

Abby BISHOP* / 20 / 190cm / Canberra Capitals / 16

Elizabeth CAMBAGE/17/203cm/Australian Institute of Sport/0

Renae CAMINO/22/177cm/Aix-en-Provence (France)/21

Rohanee COX* / 28 / 182cm / Townsville Fire / 56

Jess FOLEY* / 25 / 182cm / Adelaide Lightning / 8

Cayla FRANCIS* / 19 / 192cm / Adelaide Lightning / 2

Hollie GRIMA /25/190cm/Aix-en-Provence (France)/116

Kristi HARROWER* / 34 / 163cm / Bendigo Spirit / 176

Natalie HURST* / 25 / 163cm / Canberra Capitals / 7

Lauren JACKSON /27/195cm/Spartak Moscow (Russia)/146

Kathleen MCLEOD /22/168cm/MKB Sopron (Hungary)/35

Jenna O’HEA / 21 / 187cm / Arras (France) / 0

Elyse PENALUNA* / 20 / 193cm / Bulleen Boomers / 0

Erin PHILLIPS*/23/173cm/Electra Ramat Hasharon (Israel)/56

Natalie PORTER* / 28 / 185cm / Lavezzini Parma (Italy) / 92

Alicia POTO* / 30 / 166cm / Sydney Uni Flames / 103

Emma RANDALL*/23/188cm/Stade Clermontois (France)/74

Samantha RICHARDS/26/168cm/AZS PWSZ Gorzow(Poland)/34

Jenni SCREEN / 27 / 180cm / Lavezzini Parma (Italy) / 66

DEANNA SMITH* / 28 / 179cm / Perth Lynx / 28

Belinda SNELL /28/180cm/Dynamo Moscow (Russia)/87

Laura SUMMERTON /25/188cm/Lavezzini Parma (Italy)/105

Penny TAYLOR /27/185cm/UMMC Ekaterinberg (Russia)/85

Marianna TOLO* / 19 / 196cm / Canberra Capitals / 4

Carly WILSON/26/181cm/Challes-les-Eaux Basket(France)/56

NB. Senior games played for Australia includes representation with the Australian Universities women’s basketball team.

By Bill Baxter for BA Media