CANBERRA (Olympic Test event) - Following last week's five day training camp and two international 'friendlies' against the New Zealand Tall Ferns at the AIS in Canberra, Basketball Australia has named twelve athletes to contend the 'Good Luck Beijing 2008' tournament in China.
The Australian Defence Force Opals will depart Australia on Thursday next week, with the six-nation tournament running from April 19-26. The United States, Cuba, Korea, New Zealand and China are the other competing nations.
Five World Champion ADF Opals have been named in the team (Tully Bevilaqua, Hollie Grima, Emily McInerny, Erin Phillips and Emma Randall) while stars Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and Kristi Harrower along with three other World Champion ADF Opals will remain in Europe under contract.
The team is bolstered by Olympians Suzy Batkovic (Athens 2004), Michelle Brogan (Sydney 2000; Athens 2004), Natalie Porter (Athens 2004), and Alicia Poto (Athens 2004).
Nineteen year old Canberra Capital Abby Bishop, who represented Australia at the under-19, under-21 and senior levels in 2007, is the youngest member of the team.
Basketball Australia and ADF Opals head coach Jan Stirling opted to select the strongest team available, with the blooding of new caps kept to a minimum.
"Certainly, we're going to be challenged over at that test event," Stirling said.
"It needs to be understood, we've got to get a group that can be competitive in that environment, because we are playing the United States, we are playing Cuba, we are playing China at full strength, so we certainly need to make sure that we equip ourselves well.
"At the end of the day we are gearing up for an Olympic campaign."
While not named in the ADF Opals team for this test event, seven athletes that were part of the ADF Opals' training camp last week (Jessica Foley, Cayla Francis, Kathleen Macleod, Jenna O'Hea, Samantha Richards, Marianna Tolo, Carly Wilson) have not been ruled out of contention for selection to Beijing.
Please find listed here the Australian Defence Force Opals team and staff for the 'Good Luck Beijing 2008' tournament as well as the tournament schedule.
The Australian Defence Force Opals team:
Suzy BATKOVIC, C, Ekaterinburg (Russia)
Tully BEVILAQUA, G, Canberra Capitals
Abby BISHOP, F, Canberra Capitals
Michelle BROGAN, F, Dandenong Rangers
Renae CAMINO, G, Adelaide Lightning
Rohanee COX, F, Townsville Fire
Hollie GRIMA, F/C, Italmoka Pozzuoli (Italy)
Emily McINERNY, F, Dandenong Rangers
Erin PHILLIPS, G, Adelaide Lightning
Natalie PORTER, F, Sydney Uni Flames
Alicia POTO, G, Sydney Uni Flames
Emma RANDALL, C, Bulleen Melbourne Boomers
Head Coach: Jan Stirling
Assistant Coaches: Gary Fox and Peter Lonergan
Manager: Marian Stewart
Physiotherapist: Amanda Berntsen
Doctor: Dr. Scott Burne
Performance Manager: Dr. Donna O'Connor
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images