Opals team selected to face Tall Ferns

Opals team selected to face Tall Ferns

Basketball Australia has announced the twelve athletes that will suit up for the Opals against New Zealand at the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship for Women in Wellington and New Zealand.

The Opals play the Tall Ferns in Wellington on August 31 before the return bout at the AIS Arena in Canberra on September 2.

Qualification for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women will be on the line, with the winner gaining entry to the tournament and the loser out, with no second chance at qualification.

Opals head coach Carrie Graf has highlighted the importance of this series to her playing group and its significance in the Opals’ long-term plan.

“The games in this series are the most important of our 2009 program and we will be putting it all on the line,” Graf said.

“The games are absolutely ‘must win’ and are critical to our World Championship and Olympic campaigns. If we lose we will not be at the World championship.

“Our recent series against China was great preparation for this series against New Zealand and we’re ready to go.”

Two changes have been made to the Opals team that won the third and deciding game of a three match series against China last week.

Point guards Alicia Poto and Sam Richards make their return to the team, with Poto overcoming a hamstring strain and Richards gaining permission from her European club side to compete.

Forwards Eva Afeaki and Cayla Francis are the unlucky athletes forced to step aside.

The Opals depart Australia* on Thursday bound for Wellington, New Zealand and will train every day in the lead up to Monday’s match.

They return to Australia on Tuesday, September 1st, and will arrive in Canberra at 10:30am AEST.

Wednesday’s deciding game at the AIS Arena in Canberra will tip off at 7:00pm AEST and will be broadcast in Australia by FOX Sports.

Australian Opals team for 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship for Women:
(name / position / age / height / most recent pro club)

Jessica BIBBY / Guard / 30 / 168cm / Canberra Capitals
Elizabeth CAMBAGE / Centre / 17 / 203cm /
Bulleen Boomers
Rohanee COX / Forward / 28 / 182cm / Townsville Fire
Jessica FOLEY / Guard / 25 / 182cm / Adelaide Lightning
Hollie GRIMA / Forward / 25 / 190cm / Aix-en-Provence (France)
Natalie HURST / Guard / 25 / 163cm / Canberra Capitals
Elyse PENALUNA / Forward / 20 / 193cm / Bulleen Boomers
Alicia POTO / Guard / 30 / 166cm / Brno (Czech Republic)
Emma RANDALL / Forward / 23 / 188cm / CSS Targoviste (Romania)
Samantha RICHARDS / Guard / 26 / 168cm / AZS PWSZ Gorzow (Poland)
Marianna TOLO / Centre / 19 / 196cm / Canberra Capitals
Carly WILSON / Guard / 26 / 181cm / Challes-les-Eaux Basket (France)

Head Coach: Carrie Graf / Canberra Capitals
Assistant Coach: Peter Buckle / Townsville Fire
Assistant Coach: Michele Timms / Bulleen Boomers
Physio: Rachel McAlister
Physio: Graeme Backen
Manager: Renae Maycock