Euro stars join Jayco Opals squad for June camp

Euro stars join Jayco Opals squad for June camp

The Jayco Australian Opals return to the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence in Canberra, with European-based stars joining the squad for the camp starting on June 15.

Belinda Snell and Marianna Tolo return for their first involvement in the Jayco Opals campaign to the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women after successful seasons in Europe.

Completing her second season in France, Tolo helped her Bourges team reach the LFB French League Finals and Euroleague Semi Finals, while Cayla Francis has been named in the squad after a strong campaign for Nantes.

It was another exceptional season in Poland for Snell, who led her team in scoring in both domestic competition and the Euroleague. In a coup for the WNBL, Snell will return to play for the Bendigo Spirit next season, while Francis will suit up for the Townsville Fire.

Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce said the addition of the European trio would add another element of experience and competition to his squad.

“It’s great to have players of the calibre of Belinda and Marianna back in the squad as we draw closer to the World Championships in late September,” Joyce said.

“They were key players in the FIBA Oceania Championships last year and have both enjoyed successful Euroleague and domestic seasons abroad.

“It’s an exciting time in our preparation to be adding talented, experienced players into the program ahead of next month’s tour of Japan.”

The trio are joined a host of established stars as part of a 17-strong squad that will come together for six days – led by 2012 Olympic bronze medallists Liz Cambage, Laura Hodges, Jenni Screen and Rachel Jarry.

For Jarry a return to on-court action comes almost six months after knee surgery brought an end to her WNBL season back in January.

The 22-year-old played just three games last season, but has been present at all three Jayco Opals training camps this year as part of her rehabilitation program.

Joyce said it was exciting to have Jarry able to participate in training activities.

“It’s been a long time coming for Rachel and it’s great for her, and the squad, to have her back in full training,” Joyce said.

“Despite her injury, Rachel has stayed committed to the Jayco Opals program, attending every camp and that will stand her in good stead to transition smoothly into our system.”

Lauren Jackson continues her rehabilitation from knee and Achilles surgery, while Dandenong Rangers sharp-shooter Alice Kunek (shoulder) will also be absent due to injury.

Bendigo Spirit and CoE Women’s Team guard Tessa Lavey and Hanna Zavecz have both been recalled along, joining the team that competed against WNBA opposition last month.

The Jayco Opals will be in camp from 15-20 June at the BA CoE in Canberra ahead of their next camp on the New South Wales Central Coast in early July.

For all the latest news and updates on the Jayco Opals road to the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.

Jayco Australian Opals Training Camp – BA CoE, Canberra

Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers

Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers

Elizabeth Cambage – Beijing Bulls (China)

Cayla Francis – Nantes (France)/Townsville Fire

Laura Hodges – Adelaide Lightning

Natalie Hurst - Canberra Capitals/Canik BLD (Turkey)

Rachel Jarry – Melbourne Boomers

Tessa Lavey – Bendigo Spirit

Tess Madgen – Melbourne Boomers

Rachael McCully – Townsville Fire

Leilani Mitchell – Dandenong Rangers

Gabrielle Richards – Bendigo Spirit

Jennifer Screen – Adelaide Lightning

Belinda Snell – CCC Polkowise (Poland)/Bendigo Spirit

Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)

Kelly Wilson – Bendigo Spirit

Hanna Zavecz – Logan Thunder

CoE players invited to train:

Stephanie Talbot – Canberra Capitals

Carley Mijovic – Canberra Capitals

Alicia Froling – Townsville Fire

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