Competition continues for future stars of Australian basketball: FIBA U19 World Championships for Women tip-off tonight

Competition continues for future stars of Australian basketball: FIBA U19 World Championships for Women tip-off tonight

The Australian Gems begin their quest for the 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championship tonight as they face Argentina the opening day of the tournament in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Under the leadership of Gems Head Coach Cheryl Chambers, the team, drawn in group B for the preliminary rounds, will face Argentina at 01:00am AEST tonight (Friday 19 July), before going head to head with Japan and European powerhouse Spain.

Boasting nine Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence products and five players from the 2012 FIBA Under 17 World Championship team – Louise Brown, Alicia Froling, Tiana Mangakahia, Vannessa Panousis and Lauren Scherf – the team has an exciting mix of emerging stars and talented prospects.

In all 10 members of the team headed to Lithuania are on WNBL rosters, with the Townsville Fire the best represented, sporting Froling, Mangakania and Alex Wilson on the plane to Europe.

The 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championships for Women will be held at Cido Arena (Panevezys) and Svyturio Arena (Klaipeda).

16 teams hailing from all five of FIBA’s Continental Zones will battle it out in four groups of four teams for the Preliminary Round (18-20 July), played in a standard round-robin format.

The three top placed teams from each group will qualify for the Eight-Final Round (22-24 July), which consists of two groups of six where each team will face the three new teams in their group.

The top eight teams from the Eight-Final Round will advance to the Final Round at Svyturio Arena, with the quarter-finals on Friday 26 July, the semi-finals following on Saturday 27 July and the finals on Sunday 28 July.

The USA go to Lithuania as the defending champions, having won their fifth consecutive U19 Women gold medal in Puerto Montt, Chile in 2011. The USA beat Spain in the final, while Brazil edged out Australia in the bronze medal game.

For more information about the 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championships for Women, visit the official website: http://lithuania2013.fiba.com

Match reports and game updates will also be provided at basketball.net.au, as well as the Basketball Australia Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Australian Gems Team for 2013 FIBA Under 19 World Championship for Women:

Louise Brown (VIC / COE)

Alicia Froling (QLD / COE/ Townsville Fire)

Darcee Garbin (WA / COE / West Coast Waves)

Tiana Mangakahia (QLD / COE / Townsville Fire)

Carley Mijovic (VIC / COE / Canberra Capitals)

Vanessa Panousis (NSW / Sydney Uni Flames)

Maddison Penn (NSW / COE)

Casey Samuels (NSW / COE / Canberra Capitals)

Lauren Scherf (VIC / Dandenong Rangers)

Stephanie Talbot (SA / COE / Adelaide Lightning)

Tahlia Tupaea (NSW / Sydney Flames)

Alex Wilson (SA / COE / Townsville Fire)