Following a warm-up tournament in France where they finished with a 2-1 record, the Gems are ready to tip off their World Cup campaign on Saturday afternoon. In the warm-up tournament the Gems defeated Belgium 59-44, Russia 81-76 before falling to the hosts France by ten points.
The Gems will have a fresh face for the World Cup with Queenslander Ula Motuga joining the squad in Thailand. Motuga will join a squad that includes Bronze medallists from the 2018 Under-17 World Cup in Isobel Anstey, Agnes Emma-Nnopu, Alexandra Fowler, Shyla Heal, Gemma Potter and Lily Scanlon.
Boasting a number of players who have excelled at previous World Championships, guard Shyla Heal will play an important role for the Gems after earning All-Star Five honours at last year’s world cup in Belarus. At that tournament Heal finished with averages of 16 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists while she scored 16 second-half points against Hungary to propel the Sapphires to a Bronze medal.
Meanwhile, three members from the Sapphires’ historic gold medal-winning team at the 2016 Under-17 World Cup are also a part of this Gems team, with Miela Goodchild, Jaz Shelley and Samantha Simons all bringing golden experience to the 2019 squad.
Ranked seventh in the world, the Gems face a ‘group of death’, with the Australians set to face the USA (ranked first), Hungary (ranked 14th) and Korea (ranked 15th), meaning Group C will include three of the top four teams from last year’s Under-17 World Cup.
While all teams continue to the Round of 16, pool play will determine seeding as the tournament enters a knockout stage from the Round of 16 onwards.
FIBA will live-stream the entire tournament via their YouTube channel.
Stats are also available via the official tournament website.
|Isabelle Bourne||Australian Capital Territory|
|Ashlee Hannan (*Selected but unable to participate due to injury/clearance)||Australian Capital Territory|
|Shyla Heal||New South Wales|
|Samantha Simons||South Australia|
|Dee Butler||Head Coach|
|Dr. Maja Markovic||Doctor|
|Donna Turner||Team Manager|
|Peter Lonergan||Head of Delegation|
The Australian Gems Schedule for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (all times AEST):
July 20: Gems vs. USA at 3:15pm
July 21: Gems vs. Hungary at 3:15pm
July 23: Gems vs. Korea at 3pm
July 24: Round of 16
July 26: Quarter-Finals
July 27: Semi-Finals
July 28: Medal Games