Phillips leads trio added to Opals squad for Canberra camp

Phillips leads trio added to Opals squad for Canberra camp

Star guard Erin Phillips has been added to the Jayco Australian Opals squad for the first camp of 2014 at the Basketball Australian National Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Canberra, starting on Sunday.

The 28-year-old returns to the Opals fold for the first time since 2012, but will not be participating in any on-court activities as she recovers from injury.

Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce said he is excited to have Phillips joining the squad in Canberra.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to bring in Erin and introduce her to the new program and be able to contribute to the camp,” Joyce said.

“While she will be not doing any of the on-court components, we will be doing plenty of sessions around team culture and strategy that will be really beneficial.

“Additionally, she will have access to the best in medical and rehab support as she builds to full fitness.”

Phillips is one of three additions to the squad for the camp, joining Logan Thunder forward Emma Langford and youngster Kristy Wallace in the 23-player squad.

Langford’s Logan teammate Hanna Zavecz has been forced to withdraw from the camp through illness, opening the door for Wallace, who is one of the 12 scholarship holders for the 2014 CoE program.

Phillips has enjoyed a distinguished career in the national team setup, breaking into the team as a 20-year-old under Jan Stirling, winning gold at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games before earning her a place on the Opals team that would win the gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil.

This would see Phillips become a regular in the program, winning silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and help the Opals to fifth at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic.

A member of the Adelaide Lightning’s 2008 WNBL Championship team, Phillips forged a brilliant career in Australia, earning three consecutive WNBL All-Star Five selections between 2005 and 2007.

The WNBA came calling in 2006, with Phillips becoming a regular at the Connecticut Sun before joining the Indiana Fever in 2011 and winning the 2012 WNBA Championship. The guard has also excelled in Europe, enjoying success stints in Israel and Poland.

For Langford the call-up comes after a successful 2013 that saw her have a career-best season for the Thunder and win a third consecutive bronze medal at the World University Games as part of the Jayco Emerging Opals team.

The Jayco Australian Opals training camp will take place from 12-15 January at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence at the AIS, Canberra.

Jayco Australian Opals January Training Camp Squad

Natalie Hurst Canberra Capitals

Leilani Mitchell Dandenong Rangers

Tessa Lavey Bendigo Spirit

Jennifer Screen Adelaide Lightning

Kelly Wilson Bendigo Spirit

Tess Madgen Melbourne Boomers

Stephanie Cummings Townsville Fire

Jess Foley Adelaide Lightning

Katie-Rae Ebzery Sydney Uni Flames

Rachel Jarry Melbourne Boomers

Rebecca Allen Melbourne Boomers

Alice Kunek Dandenong Rangers

Mia Newley Townsville Fire

Laura Hodges Adelaide Lightning

Abby Bishop Canberra Capitals

Elyse Penaluna Bendigo Spirit

Carley Mijovic Canberra Capitals

Lauren Scherf Dandenong Rangers

Natalie Burton West Coast Waves

Gabrielle Richards Bendigo Spirit

Erin Phillips Indiana Fever (WNBA)

Emma Langford Logan Thunder

Kristy Wallace BA National Centre of Excellence