Opals team selected to face China

Opals team selected to face China

Basketball Australia has selected the athletes that will represent the Opals in a three game series against China in August.

Olympic Silver Medallists and reigning World Champions Australia will take on China in Canberra, Geelong and Dandenong on August 11, 17 and 21 respectively.

2008/09 Women's National Basketball League MVP Rohanee Cox and fellow Olympians Emma Randall, Hollie Grima, Jenni Screen and Alicia Poto are among the 15 athletes selected while Natalie Hurst, Elyse Penaluna and Liz Cambage, who all debuted for the Opals against China in May, have garnered re-selection.

“There’s no question that this is a critical part of our preparation for the World Championships and to get us ready for New Zealand,” Opals head coach Carrie Graf said.

“We have a good chunk of Olympians and we’re on home soil so we’re looking to avenge our 2-1 series loss in China in May.”

A team of twelve athletes will be selected at the conclusion of the three game series to contest the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship for women against New Zealand on August 31 (Wellington, NZ) and September 2 (Canberra).

Australia’s performance at that event determines qualification for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for women.

China, who finished fourth in Beijing, is preparing for the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship for Women and will also contest friendly matches on tour against three Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) teams; Bendigo Spirit, Dandenong Rangers and Bulleen Boomers.

Australian Opals Basketball Team for International ‘Friendlies’ against China:
(name / age / height / most recent pro club)

Eva AFEAKI / 24 / 184cm / Sydney Uni Flames
Elizabeth CAMBAGE / 17 / 203cm / Bulleen Boomers
Rohanee COX / 28 / 182cm / Townsville Fire
Jess FOLEY / 25 / 182cm / Adelaide Lightning
Hollie GRIMA / 25 / 190cm / Aix-en-Provence (France)
Cayla FRANCIS / 19 / 192cm / Adelaide Lightning
Natalie HURST / 25 / 163cm / Canberra Capitals
Jenna O’HEA / 21 / 187cm / Arras (France)
Elyse PENALUNA / 20 / 193cm / Bulleen Boomers
Alicia POTO / 30 / 166cm / Brno (Czech Republic)
Emma RANDALL / 23 / 188cm /
CSS Targoviste (Romania)
Jenni SCREEN / 27 / 180cm / Lavezzini Parma (Italy)
Deanna SMITH / 28 / 179cm / Sydney Uni Flames
Marianna TOLO
/ 19 / 196cm / Canberra Capitals
Carly WILSON / 26 / 181cm / Challes-les-Eaux Basket (France)

Head Coach: Carrie Graf / Canberra Capitals

Australian Opals 2009 Program – Key Dates:Aug 10-13      Training Camp, Canberra ACTAug 11          AUSTRALIA v CHINA (Gm 1), Canberra ACTAug 17          AUSTRALIA v CHINA (Gm 2), Geelong VICAug 18-20      Training Camp, Dandenong VICAug 21          AUSTRALIA v CHINA (Gm 3), Dandenong VICAug 31          AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND (Gm 1), Wellington NZSep 2            AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND (Gm 2), Canberra ACT