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Basketball - 11. November 2013.

AUS - Tolo eyeing up global return at Turkey 2014

BOURGES (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Marianna Tolo is on a mission to make amends for her Olympic heartache by forcing her way back onto the global stage with a place on the Opals' roster for the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey next year.

The center didn't make the final cut for London 2012 and along with the likes of fellow Australian star and former WNBA champion Erin Phillips, simply had to deal with the harsh reality of a crushing personal disappointment.

"Yes, missing out did hurt a lot," confirmed Tolo.

"It's what you dream about, but that just means I have to work a little harder and be a little better."

The 24-year-old came back into the reckoning a couple of months ago when she was re-selected for the FIBA Oceania Championship for Women and that has given her a confidence boost as she bids to keep her place next year.

"It was a great experience and it always is to represent your country," Tolo said.

"It was also nice to be a part of something new and seeing the new range of talent we have coming through in Australia.

"It means the world to play at any FIBA event for Australia and so it would be an honour to make the team (for Turkey) and I will be doing everything I can to do so."

If Tolo does step back out on the big stage, she can reflect on having made her senior major tournament debut in the competition three years ago.

"Czech Republic was both exciting and heart-breaking all at the same time," recalled the Canberra native.

"It was an awesome experience for me to play at a FIBA tournament as a senior player and I got to compare myself against the best in the world for the first time.

"It was also so devastating, since it was the first time in many years that the Opals did not qualify for the medal rounds."

Much of whether Tolo does get a taste of a second major tournament at the world level will depend on how she performs at Tango Bourges this year.

She recently penned a deal with the French league leaders who are potentially out for silverware both domestically and in EuroLeague Women - although Tolo is not allowing herself to think too far ahead with her new club.

"I am taking the experience with Bourges as it comes," she explained

"We cannot afford to think too far ahead of ourselves - we would be fools to do so.

"But I am really excited to get the opportunity to play in EuroLeague Women against some of the best players in the world."

The caution of Tolo is well-placed, since her EuroLeague Women debut proved to be bitter-sweet.

She top scored for her team with an efficient 13 points, but Bourges somewhat surprisingly lost their season curtain-raiser in a 61-55 defeat at home to Beretta Famila Schio.

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photos Janos Schmidt 

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