ARG - Burani upbeat after draw
17.02.2012 - Basketball
BUENOS AIRES (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) - Argentina believe a spot in the London Games is there for the taking following Wednesday's draw in Ankara for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Turkey.
The South Americans ended up in Group B with the Czech Republic and New Zealand.
Should they finish among the top two, Roberto Santin's team will go into a Quarter-Final against one of the sides from Group A: Japan, Puerto Rico or Turkey.
The winners of the four Quarter-Finals clinch places at the Olympics, while the losers will battle for the fifth and final qualifying spot.
Argentina's 20-year-old center Agostina Burani, who averaged 5.3 points and six rebounds per game last summer at the FIBA Americas Championship in Colombia, helping her side to a runners-up finish, said: "The group we are in is accessible.
"We played the Czech Republic at the World Championship and we know it's a very difficult rival."
The Czechs beat Argentina on the opening night of the 2010 World Championship, 67-53.
"We don't know much about New Zealand but from previous tournaments we know they are inferior," Burani said.
"The chances to qualify are always there.
"We'll prepare to go there and finish as high as possible.
"Already by winning a group game, we go through to the next round and I think we have a chance."
Coach Santin will gather with his preliminary squad on the 24th of February in Buenos Aires and have a mini-training camp that weekend.
Among the 17 finalists for the Argentina squad is Johana Puchetti.
A 24-year-old center with Talleres Paraná, Puchetti said: "It was a pleasant surprise.
"I didn't expect it.
"I feel pride that I have been considered and I can't wait until the 24th to show all I know."
Santin has also invited under-18 players Victoria Llorente and Mara Marchizotti to the mini-camp.
Argentina finalists for Olympic Qualifying Tournament squad: Sandra Pavon, Nadia Flores, Melisa Gretter, Marina Cava, Macarena Rosset, Rocio Diaz, Natasha Perez, Natasha Spiatta, Melisa Pavicich, Diana Cabrera, Andrea Boquete, Ornella Santana, Brenda Schmidt, Melani Soriani, Agostina Burani, Johana Puchetti and Salva Agustina Carjuzac.