Basketball Australia have named a star-studded quartet that will take part in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) to be held in Bengaluru, India from the 18 - 22 of March 2020.
Asian Cup MVP Bec Cole is once again joined by Keely Froling and Maddie Garrick as returning members of the Australian side that went close to a medal at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup in June last year. A heartbreaking overtime loss to China in the semifinal saw them take on France in the playoff for bronze before finishing fourth.
Fellow WNBL stars Kesley Griffin and Lauren Nicholson have also been named, and both are no strangers to having represented Australia on the international stage.
Griffin led the Opals to silver at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and will make her debut in the shorter form of the game. Nicholson however is in an extremely unique position after recently helping the Opals qualify for Tokyo at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Bourges, France, and will have the opportunity to do the same with the Australian 3x3 team. All four players are currently firmly entrenched in the WNBL semifinals.
"We’re excited about the opportunity to make our way to Tokyo 2020 and the fact that players like Kelsey Griffin and Lauren Nicholson are showing interest in 3x3," shared Australian 3x3 head coach Dave Biwer in announcing the team.
“It’ll be challenging to manage timelines with the proximity to WNBL finals, but we will do our best to make sure that the girls are ready for intensity and physicality of 3x3 basketball. Our eyes are firmly set on a ticket to Tokyo, with a top-three finish in India.”
In India, Australia will be one of 20 teams vying for just 3 tickets to the Olympics in what is sure to be a fiercely competitive tournament.
The Aussie women will enter the Olympic Qualification Tournament as the lowest ranked Federation, with Iran at 6 the highest ranked nation in Group B. They have been pooled with Asian rivals Japan (11th), Ukraine (14th) and Turkmenistan (22nd).
Australian FIBA 3x3 OQT Team
Rebecca Cole | Southside Flyers
Maddie Garrick | Melbourne Boomers
Keely Froling | Canberra Capitals
Kelsey Griffin | Canberra Capitals
Lauren Nicholson | Adelaide Lightning
Australian FIBA 3x3 OQT Schedule (AEST)
18 March: Japan vs Australia @ 4:55 pm
18 March: Australia vs Ukraine @ 6.20 pm
20 March: Turkmenistan vs Australia @ 4.30 pm
20 March: Australia vs Iran @ 5:55 pm
22 March: Quarterfinals
22 March: Semifinals
22 March: Final