Australian Gems named for FIBA Oceania U18 Championships

The Australian Gems that will be heading to Suva, Fiji in December for the FIBA Oceania U18 Championships have been confirmed.

In one of the most stacked Gems teams ever assembled, eight of the 12 members from the FIBA Under-17 World Championships gold medal winning side have been named.

The group includes FIBA U17 MVP Ezi Magbegor, All-Stars 5 team members Jasmine Simmons and Monique Conti, along with fellow World Champions Abby Cubillo, Lara McSpadden, Kiera Rowe, Jazmin Shelley and Samantha Simons.

Completing a roster that is aiming to qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championships are Chantel Horvat, Chloe Bibby, Maddison Rocci and Zitina Aokuso.

“We have a great depth of talent across all positions,” head coach Paul Goriss said.

“We have selected a team with versatility, length, athleticism and speed with a defensive mindset. We know the Oceania championships will be challenging on and off the court but we have an adaptable and resilient team with a huge amount of national and international experience.”

The squad is made of members from Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence and the remainder from the WNBL.

“It is a privilege and honour to represent Australia and all the staff and players are grateful for the opportunity to put on the green and gold,” Goriss said.

“The work that the coaches put in at school, local, association, representative and national league level has assisted the girls in coming into camp in great shape and we would like to acknowledge the work the coaches in our states and territories are doing to help our athletes achieve their goals.”

Australia will be competing against seven other nations at the qualification tournament. The Gems have been drawn in Group A, alongside Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti. Making up Group B is Guam, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Since the U19 World Champs were created in 1985, the Gems have qualified every year. They have won only one gold medal, in 1993, while taking home bronze in the previous two events.

The FIBA Oceania event will be held from December 5-10, with the winner heading to Italy next year for the FIBA U19 World Championships.

Australian Gems | 2016 FIBA Oceania U18 Championships Playing # Name State Club School 11 Chloe Bibby VIC Dandenong Rangers Rowville Secondary College 15 Monique Conti VIC Melbourne Tigers Maribyrnong Secondary College 6 Abby Cubillo NT Tracy Village T Birds / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen 7 Chantel Horvat VIC Geelong Supercats / CoE Radford College, Bruce 13 Ezi Magbegor VIC Coburg Giants / CoE Lake Ginnindera, Belconnen 8 Maddison Rocci VIC Geelong Supercats / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen 12 Lara McSpadden NSW Sydney Uni Flames / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen 14 Zitina Aokuso QLD South West Metro Pirates / CoE Runcorn State HS (Graduated) 9 Kiera Rowe VIC Bulleen Boomers / CoE Radford College, Bruce 4 Jazmin Shelley VIC Southern Peninsula / CoE Canberra High, Canberra 5 Jasmine Simmons NSW Mildura Heat / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen 10 Samantha Simons SA Forestville Eagles / CoE Lake Ginninderra, Belconnen Head Coach – Paul Goriss Assistant Coaches – Alan McAughtry/Dee Butler Physiotherapist – Jessica Thornton Doctor – Dr Maja Markovic Manager – Michele Menso