From May 3-12, the Opals will face the Japanese national team in Nagaoka on May 7 and then two games in Tokyo on May 9 and 10.
“The tour will add to our preparation for Brazil but also give the coaching staff a chance to trial the players and give the players themselves some international experience,” said Australian Opals head coach Brendan Joyce.
“We feel that the 12 selected players are certainly in contention for the final team but we are unable to select Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor due to WNBA commitments while Marianna Tolo and Abby Bishop are still injured.”
Although the tour will be mainly used as a development tool for the team, the Opals are still intent on beating their opposition and repeating their series win from last July over Japan before the Oceania Championships.
“Japan are a very good team to play,” said Joyce.
“They are very quick and are good off dribble penetration which is reflective of many European and South American teams.”
Joyce is pleased with the evolution of the team through their first two camps, which culminated in a scrimmage on the last night at Gosford.
“The second camp took the intensity to another level which was great and everybody got through unscathed.
“A scrimmage is always a positive end to a camp and for a couple of the players, it was potentially the last time they played in Australia before heading to Brazil so they took it pretty seriously.
“We have continued to build our style of play and develop our team chemistry through these camps. The way the players are coming together not only on the court but off it as well, is really positive.”
Ahead of August, the Opals will follow this tour of Japan with a tour of Europe before returning home for two final camps in June and July.
“By then, Laura Hodges will be home from her commitments in France and hopefully Marianna Tolo, who is way ahead of schedule with her rehabilitation, could be back to even play a few minutes in Europe.”
The Jayco Australian Opals squad for the warm-up tour in Japan:
|Suzy||Batkovic||JCU Townsville Fire|
|Sara||Blicavs||Jayco Dandenong Rangers|
|Katie-Rae||Ebzery||Brydens Lawyers Sydney Uni Flames|
|Cayla||George||JCU Townsville Fire|
|Tess||Madgen||Deakin Melbourne Boomers|
|Leilani||Mitchell||MAC Adelaide Lightning|
|Stephanie||Talbot||Canberra Uni Capitals|
- Abby Bishop – Seattle Storm (injured)
- Marianna Tolo (injured)
- Laura Hodges - Bourges (France) – unavailable
- Erin Phillips – Dallas Wings – unavailable
- Penny Taylor – Phoenix Mercury – unavailable
For all media enquiries contact Lizzie Joyce:
Lizzie Joyce Publicity
0408 234 109