Following the success of the NBL’s 3x3 Hustle series, Australia has been invited by FIBA to compete in a women’s invitational 3x3 tournament in China as a part of The Belt and Road Chengdu Challenger.

The invitational women’s tournament will consist of eight national teams and will run from May 26-27 with $3000 prizemoney on offer for the victors.

Over three weekends in Melbourne and Sydney through April and May, the 3x3 Pro Hustle’s were held which provided teams and the best players from Australia including NBL, WNBL and SEABL athletes with the opportunity to showcase their 3x3 skills.

Last week’s FIBA 3x3 Challenger in Sydney further legitimised Australia’s standing in the new basketball landscape as some of the best teams from around the world took on the top talent from Australia.

“In just its first year, the 3x3 Hustle has already proved to be a big success with players and basketball fans,” said NBL CEO, Jeremy Loeliger.

“It’s once again demonstrated the depth of talent in Australian basketball and will only grow in popularity in the years to come as more players and fans embrace what is a fun and exciting form of the game.”

A team with a wealth of 3x3 experience will represent Australia at the Chengdu Challenger in Rebecca Cole, Alice Kunek, Renae Garlepp and Jasmine Simmons while Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence assistant women’s coach Matthew Paton will lead the side.

“The FIBA 3x3 format continues to grow rapidly around the world and it is exciting to see the same things happening in Australia,” said General Manager of Competitions, Paul Maley.

“We are particularly excited with this Chengdu tournament as it shows a commitment from FIBA to develop more top-level events on the women’s side.

“For Australia, this is important as we want the pathway to be open to male and female athletes equally and we know we are strong and deep in both areas.”

Cole recently won the bronze medal at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup where she was also named to the All-Star Team.

She has previously played for Australia at the 3x3 World Championship as well while Kunek also represented Australia at a 3x3 World Champs, winning a bronze medal for her country back in 2012 at the inaugural competition.

A two-time WNBL Champion and Grand Final MVP in 2008, Renae Garlepp will be hoping to emulate husband Tom’s success after he earned the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup MVP and hit the game-winning shot in the gold medal game.

Garlepp has been developing her game in the NBL’s 3x3 Pro Hustle events over the past few weeks alongside Jasmine Simmons who won a gold medal for Australia at the Under-17 World Championships two years ago.

“We have a good mix of maturity and youth that will help in facing some formidable opposition from Europe and Asia,” said head coach, Matt Paton.

“It is a versatile group that holds us in good stead for 3x3 which is so high energy and involves so much switching and so many substitutions.”

Stay tuned to Basketball Australia for the release of the tournament schedule later while the official FIBA website can be found here.