Preparations have begun ahead of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup with an Australian Opals squad headed to Phoenix, Arizona for a selection camp from June 25-July 3.

The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, held in Bangalore, India, is the first step on the way to the 2018 FIBA World Cup with the four teams that reach the Semi-Finals at the FIBA Asia Cup earning qualification.

Australia have been drawn into Group B where they will face Korea, Philippines and Japan in the pool stage.

With Opals head coach Sandy Brondello unavailable for the Asia Cup due to WNBA commitments, the team will be led by assistant coaches Paul Goriss and Cheryl Chambers.

“The aim of the camp is to introduce the players to the concepts and game style that Sandy will install into the Opals program,” Goriss said.

“It also gives the coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate the players’ skill set that will help the team be successful in Bangalore.”

A mix of experience and young talent will make up the Opals selection camp squad from which the team for the FIBA Asia Cup will be selected which includes six members of the Rio Olympic team in Tessa Lavey, Rachel Jarry, Laura Hodges, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Erin Phillips and Marianna Tolo.

There are a multitude of upcoming 2017/18 WNBL players included in the squad as well with Abby Bishop, Sara and Steph Blicavs, Maddie Garrick, Jenna O’Hea, Louella Tomlinson, Alice Kunek, Carley Mijovic and Kelsey Griffin all named.

Rounding out the team are Natalie Hurst, Alex Bunton and Lauren Mansfield who have all competed for Australia at the World University Games while Hurst is also a FIBA Oceania gold medallist, Alanna Smith and Kristy Wallace who are Under-19 FIBA World Championship bronze medallists and three-time Olympic medallist Belinda Snell.

“With the Olympic experience of players such as Snell, Phillips and Hodges alongside WNBA and European players in Jarry, O’Hea and Hurst, it will be a very tough and competitive camp,” said Goriss.

“The young brigade is also coming through in the form of Wallace and Smith who have both had outstanding years at USA colleges while the WNBL contingent have been recognised for their form and performances during last season.”

The Opals will fly out for the tournament on July 17 and more information for the Asia Cup can be found here.

The Australian Opals FIBA Women's Asia Cup Schedule (all times AEST):

July 23: Australia vs. Korea at 3.30pm
July 24: 
Australia vs. Philippines at 5.45pm
July 25:
Australia vs. Japan at 5.45pm
July 27:
July 28: Semi-Finals
July 29: Bronze and Gold medal games

The 2017 Australian Opals Selection Camp Squad for the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup:

Surname First Name
Bishop Abby
Blicavs Sara
Blicavs (nee Cumming) Stephanie
Bunton Alex
Ebzery Katie-Rae
Garrick Maddie
Griffin Kelsey
Hodges Laura
Hurst Natalie
Jarry Rachel
Kunek Alice
Lavey Tessa
Mansfield Lauren
Mijovic Carley
O’Hea Jenna
Phillips Erin
Smith Alanna
Snell Belinda
Tolo Marianna
Tomlinson Louella
Wallace Kristy

Media contact:

Lisa Hasker
Basketball Australia
0418 194 933