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Basketball - 18. February 2012.

AUS - Opals name 24 finalists for London

SYDNEY (Olympics) - Liz Cambage and a host of other players in the Australia squad that finished fifth at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women are among 24 finalists for the country's Olympic team.

Cambage, a 2.03m center who averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Opals in the Czech Republic, was a rookie in the WNBA last year with the Tulsa Shock and is now playing Down Under with the Bulleen Boomers.

Members of Australia's gold-medal winning side at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Brazil are also among the 24, including Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Kristi Harrower and Belinda Snell.

Opals coach Carrie Graf said: “There are a core group of players who are going to clearly be in that Olympic team and then there are going to be a few spots open for players to battle it out and for us to see what is going to be the best fit for the team."

Australia will have a selection camp in March and then an official pre-Olympic training camp, which tips off in May at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

“Six of the athletes are off-shore in Europe so they won’t be a part of that first selection camp, so it’s a really good opportunity for some of those other athletes to show their wares,” Graf said.

“Who are the specialists who are potentially going to fill one or two of three spots on that Olympic team? That’s what we’re looking for."

The Opals have claimed silver medals at the last three Olympic Games.

Australia finalists for Olympic squad: Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop, Liz Cambage, Rohanee Cox, Rachael Flanagan, Cayla Francis, Kristi Harrower, Laura Hodges, Natalie Hurst, Lauren Jackson, Rachel Jarry, Kathleen Macleod, Jenna O’Hea, Elyse Penaluna, Erin Phillips, Alicia Poto, Samantha Richards, Jennifer Screen, Belinda Snell, Penny Taylor, Marianna Tolo, Kristen Veal, Carly Wilson and Hanna Zavecz.



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