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Basketball - 29. March 2011.

Graf, Australia aiming for Olympic Basketball gold

SYDNEY (FIBA Oceania Championship) - Veteran center Suzy Batkovic is among those named in a 25-strong preliminary squad ahead of the FIBA Oceania Championship.

Batkovic missed last year's FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic due to injury but has a chance to return to the fold as the Opals go after a spot in the London Olympics.

The new sensation of Australia, Liz Cambage, is also in the group along with Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor.

“To make an Opals squad is a terrific start to your international career, but making an Opals team in an Olympic year is no easy feat,” said Australia coach Carrie Graf.

“It’s a great team with great history.

“There’s 12 spots on that London Olympic team.

"The team that made the Worlds is not necessarily going to be the team that goes to the Olympics.

"People rise up and people drift off a little bit and we’re looking to put a team together to win a gold medal.”

Australia will on June 6 begin their preparations for the FIBA Oceania Championship clash with New Zealand.

The squad will travel to China for a Four Nations Tournament (June 17-24) and the Opals will remain in the country for a five-day camp and another three-game series with the Chinese national side.

Australia will also have a team at the World University Games in China (August 12-23).

Australia preliminary squad for FIBA Ocean Championship: Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop, Elizabeth Cambage, Stephanie Cumming, Rachael Flanagan, Hollie Grima, Kristi Harrower, Natalie Hurst, Rachel Jarry, Lauren Jackson, Tess Madgen, Kathleen MacLeod, Jenna O'Hea, Elyse Penaluna, Erin Phillips, Alicia Poto, Samantha Richards, Jennifer Screen, Belinda Snell, Laura Summerton, Penny Taylor, Marianna Tolo, Kristen Veal, Carly Wilson and Hanna Zavecz.

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