Gems head for China in preparation for World Champs

Gems head for China in preparation for World Champs

The U19 Australian Women’s Basketball team, the Gems, have concluded another Melbourne camp today, where they put some finishing touches to their structure before they fly out to China tonight, where they will play in a four nation tournament (they will face China, USA and Czech Republic) in preparation for the FIBA U19 World Championship which is to be held in Chile from 21-31 July, 2011.

“I think they are excited, for a bit of a cultural change and a seeing a bit of the world, but also to see where we are at,” said Gems head coach Cheryl Chambers.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to play against some quality teams and I think they’re a bit excited.”

Although happy with the way the girls have been competing and performing throughout the most recent camp, both on a physical and mental level, Chambers is well aware that the learning curve will continue while in China as they look for areas where they can build and improve.

“I think it’s really important that we work out what rotations work well together,” Chambers said. “We haven’t had a lot of playing time together and it’s about what works well. And defensively, we need to be as good as we can, so we’ll be tweaking that every game and making sure we get better and better.

“I think all areas we’ll need to improve and that’s what we’ve been talking about with the girls – that we get better and better every session and we don’t go backwards. Once we perfect something, we hang on to it and then we add a few more strings to our bow,” she said.  

A squad of 12 players was selected at the Gems’ previous camp in March to compete in the upcoming tournament, but the door isn’t closed yet on some other hopefuls eager to squeeze into the side that competes at the World Championship.

“After the tournament, we have got a camp in Canberra before we go away so after this competition we’ll see where we’re at and bring some other people in if we see some holes. It’s really dependent on how we go, but more than likely we’ll bring a couple more in at the next camp,” said Chambers.

“To play for your country is an absolute privilege; it’s not your right and you need to get out there every time and represent it with great dignity and respect and great courage and play like Aussie people play. That’s certainly a part of our theme.”  

The Gems team that will head to China

• Aimie CLYDESDALE — Dandenong/Victoria
• Rebecca COLE — Albury/AIS
• Maddie GARRICK — Shepparton/AIS
• Ashleigh KARAITIANA — Sydney Flames/NSW
• Carley MIJOVIC — Dandenong/AIS
• Nadeen PAYNE — Townsville/Qld
• Tayla ROBERTS — Launceston/AIS
• Gretel TIPPETT — Logan Thunder/QLD
• Sara BLICAVS — Nunawading/AIS
• Rebecca ALLEN — Wangaratta/AIS
• Kerryn HARRINGTON — Bendigo/VIC
• Alex BUNTON — Canberra/AIS