Batkovic and O’Hea withdraw from Opals 2014 campaign

Batkovic and O’Hea withdraw from Opals 2014 campaign

Basketball Australia has been informed that Suzy Batkovic and Jenna O’Hea will not be available for the Jayco Australian Opals’ 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women campaign.

A three-time WNBL MVP, Batkovic has confirmed she will not be available for Jayco Opals’ World Championship campaign, deciding to take a break from international competition in 2014.

Having played at the highest level in the WNBL, WNBA, Europe and on the international stage for more than 15 years, the 33-year-old has cited the need for rest and recovery in order to prolong her elite playing career.

Batkovic has made clear she will not retire from international basketball, and this week announced her intention to stay in North Queensland for the next two WNBL seasons after re-signing with the Townsville Fire until the end of the 2015/16 season, with an option for 2016/17.

Since emerging alongside Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor as part of the famous AIS WNBL Championship-winning team of 1999, Batkovic quickly became a regular in the Opals program for more than a decade.

Batkovic is a three-time Olympic medallist (2004, 2008 and 2012) and has represented Australia at two FIBA World Championships (2002 and 2010). On the international stage we have seen Batkovic excel, winning two Maher Medals for International Player of the Year in 2001 and again in 2008 – an Olympic year.

Returning to the WNBL in 2009, Batkovic has become one of the biggest stars in the competition, recently becoming the first player in the league to win three consecutive MVP honours.

O’Hea has also informed Basketball Australia she will not be available to meet the selection criteria in order to be considered for the team to contest the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

That selection criteria requires attendance and participation at minimum of two Jayco Opals camps and two matches between June 2013 and August 2014.

O’Hea has informed Basketball Australia she will not be available for the upcoming March 2014 and April 2014 Jayco Opals camps.

O’Hea will this year focus on her WNBA career, where she is entering into her fourth season with the Los Angeles Sparks, looking to add to her 70 career games.

The 26-year-old was part of the Opals team that claimed the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and played at the 2010 FIBA World Championships.

O’Hea has been selected in the WNBL All-Star Five four times (2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014) and was runner-up in the WNBL MVP last season.