Opals to face rival USA in world titles preparations
The Jayco Australian Opals are set to depart Australia on a whirlwind tour of three countries in 15 days as they ramp up their 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women preparations.
The Jayco Opals will travel to China, the United States and Hungary to train and play a number of friendly games throughout July as the countdown to the world titles from September 23 – October 3 in the Czech Republic continues.
Whilst twelve athletes have been named to take part in the tour, the four Opals playing in America’s WNBA will join the team for the US component.
Penny Taylor, Lauren Jackson, Tully Bevilaqua and Abby Bishop will reunite with the team in Connecticut on July 7 for a training camp and a ‘friendly’ game against arch-rival the USA on July 11. Whilst Jackson, Bevilaqua and Bishop took part in the Opals first training camp of 2010 in April, July will be the first time 2006 FIBA World Championship Most Valuable Player Taylor will suit up for Australia since winning a Silver medal in Beijing.
Twenty-four-year-old Hanna Zavecz is set to make her Jayco Opals debut on the tour after sitting out the Opals World Challenge against Japan due to a back injury.
The touring squad, headed by Beijing Olympians Kristi Harrower, Erin Phillips, Laura Summerton and Jenni Screen and young centre Liz Cambage, takes off from Sydney on June 30 headed for China where they will play their World Championship Preliminary Round opponent, the Chinese national team, in a three-game friendly series.
The two teams clashed six times last year with a three-game series in China in May and a return series in Australia in August; after both tournaments the record was split at three wins apiece.
From there, the Australians fly to Connecticut for a four-day training camp followed by the ‘friendly’ against the USA.
Two days later the Jayco Opals are headed for a tournament in Hungary where they will take on Romania, Slovakia and the host nation before returning to Australia on July 18.
Back home, the Australians have a month apart before the final 12-strong world championship team will regroup for a final training camp from August 14-18 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium before jetting off for Europe on September 7 for some final preparations ahead of the FIBA World Championship.
The defending World Champions will play five friendly games in Europe to warm up for the world titles against fellow World Championship-bound nations the USA, Spain (3rd - 2009 Eurobasket) and Mali (2nd - 2009 FIBA Africa Championship).
Dual Olympian Suzy Batkovic-Brown remains in contention for the World Championship team but will stay on at the Australian Institute of Sport to continue rehabbing her knee injury suffered in the WNBL season. Guards Deanna Smith, Kathleen MacLeod and Carly Wilson as well as forward Elyse Penaluna are the four players not to advance from the Opals World Challenge squad.
Jayco Opals Squad for Tour to China and USA
Elizabeth CAMBAGE / Bulleen Boomers / 18 / Dandenong, VIC
Hollie GRIMA / Frisco Sika Brno (Czech Republic) / 26 / Launceston, TAS
Kristi HARROWER / Bendigo Spirit / 35 / Bendigo, VIC
Jenna O’HEA / Bulleen Boomers / 23 / Nunawading, VIC
Erin PHILLIPS / Lotos Gdynia (Poland) / 24 / North Adelaide, SA
Alicia POTO / Dynamo GUVD Novosibirsk (Russia) / 32 / Campbelltown, NSW
Samantha RICHARDS / KSSSE AZS-PWSZ Gorzow (Poland) / 27 / Nunawading, VIC
Jennifer SCREEN / Basket Parma (Italy) / 28 / Toowoomba, QLD
Belinda SNELL / Ros Casares (Spain) / 29 / Mirboo North, Knox, Kilsyth, VIC
Laura SUMMERTON / Basket Parma (Italy) / 26 / Sturt, SA
Marianna TOLO / Canberra Capitals / 20 / Mackay, QLD
Hanna ZAVECZ / Bulleen Boomers / 24 / Wangaratta, VIC
Additional players for US component only
Tully BEVILAQUA / Indiana Fever (WNBA) / 37 / Merredin, WA
Abby BISHOP / Seattle Storm (WNBA)/Dandenong Rangers / 21 / Forestville & North Adelaide, SA
Lauren JACKSON / Seattle Storm / 29 / Albury, NSW
Penny TAYLOR / Phoenix Mercury / 29 / Belgrave South, VIC
Head Coach: Carrie Graf
Assistant Coaches: Michele Timms, Peter Buckle, Phil Brown
Doctor: Dr David Hughes (China only)
Physiotherapists: Rachel McAlister (China only), Graeme Backen (USA, Hungary)
Manager: Renae Maycock
2010 Jayco Opals Schedule
June 30 Depart Australia
July 2 Australia v China, Jiyuan Arena, Henan Province, China
July 4 Australia v China, Xinhui Arena, Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, China
July 6 Australia v China, Shunde Arena, Foshan, Guangdong Province, China
July 7-13 Training Camp in Connecticut, USA
July 11 Australia v USA, Connecticut, USA
July 15 Australia v Romania, Hungary
July 16 Australia v Hungary, Hungary
July 17 Australia v Slovakia, Hungary
August 14-18 Training Camp, Dandenong, VIC
September 7 Depart Australia
September 10-12 Games v USA and Spain
September 13-16 Training camp in Spain
September 17-18 Tournament in Spain involving Australia, Spain, USA and Mali
September 19 Travel to Ostrava, Czech Republic
September 21 Friendly game
September 23- 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women
You are all amazing and inspirational athletes.
Rock those teams of their feet!!!