Opals on their way to the USA ahead of Rio
— Tamara (@Tamara_sheppard) July 21, 2016
As the 2012 London bronze medalists, the Opals first take on FIBA’s number 9 ranked Canada on July 28 in Newark, Delaware. They will then back up with an encounter against reigning silver medalists and world number 4 ranked France on July 30 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Madison Square Garden will then be the stage that will see the Opals tackle the talent-laden and defending Olympic champion USA, on August 1 in New York City.
Canada, who have been drawn in Group B for Rio with the USA, managed a 4-1 record in their tour of Europe, including the scalps of both France and Australia. More recently, the Canadians earned a three-game series sweep over the Tom Maher coached China at home. They will be a tough assignment for what Opals head coach Brendan Joyce will be hoping to have his full team available, with both Penny Taylor (Phoenix Mercury) and Erin Phillips (Dallas Wings) joining the team upon the Opals arrival in the US.
France, who along with fellow Olympic Group A rivals Belarus and Turkey, secured the final berths for Rio via the Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The French have beaten another Group A foe Turkey twice in build up to Rio and remain unbeaten to date in their Olympic preparations. They will be one of the teams vying for first place in the Opals group along with hosts Brazil.
Team USA is a formidable opponent that the Opals will face last of all at the famed Madison Square Garden. Loaded with a host of WNBA stars, the reigning Olympic and World Champions are clearly the team to beat. They will be the Opals final hit-out ahead of their opening game against hosts Brazil in Rio.
After their opening game against Brazil in Rio, the Opals are set to take on Turkey, then France, Japan and Belarus. They will be looking to qualify in first place in Group A to avoid the USA until a potential gold medal playoff.
Opals Exhibition Schedule (all times AEST):
July 28: Australia v Canada at 7:00am in Delaware
July 30: Australia v France at 6:30am in Connecticut
August 1: Australia v USA at 6:00am at Madison Square Garden, New York (broadcast live on NBA TV)
Basketball Australia has confirmed that Fox Sports will not be broadcasting any of the Boomers exhibition games. USA Basketball are broadcasting all of their men’s and women’s games via NBA TV, including the game against the Opals om August 1.
There is a chance that the other two games may become available online and will be communicated to the basketball community once confirmed. Please check social media for availability of live stats and live streams on the days of each Opals exhibition game.
Each and every game of the Australian Opals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be available via Network Seven’s dedicated website and app ‘Olympics on 7’. For more details visit: www.7rio2016.com.au
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR