A star-studded 'Emerging Opals' team has been selected to represent Australia at the 2017 World University Games.
Six rising stars of the WNBL will join those who have been playing in NCAA Division I college basketball will travel to Chinese Taipei to take part in the event held from August 19 to 30.
2017 WNBL Champions Tahlia Tupaea and Alex Wilson of the Sydney Uni Flames are joined by former Dandenong Rangers center Lauren Scherf and her new team mates Keely Froling and Abigail Wehrung of the University of Canberra Capitals in the select team. Townsville Fire forward Darcee Garbin rounds out the WNBL representatives on a very talented team.
After helping Sydney Uni win their first ever WNBL Championship, Tupaea was selected with the last pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx.
After a stellar NCAA Tournament that ended in the Final Four, Alanna Smith (Stanford) headlines a talented contingent of US College stars set to pull on the green and gold. Baylor's Kristy Wallace, whose season ended in the Elite Eight, is also set to join Smith, as are Saint Mary's duo Megan McKay and Carly Turner, Virginia Tech's Vanessa Panousis, and Wake Forest's Alex Sharp, who was named The Pick and Roll's Freshman Player of the Year.
Panousis, Scherf and Garbin return to the side looking to improve upon their 5th placing at the 2015 World University Games held in Gwangju, Korea, with just a solitary loss to Japan in the quarterfinals thwarting their medal chances.
Australia have been grouped with Russia, Lithuania and Argentina in the pool stage. Russia won bronze at the last Games in 2015 and are likely to provide the sternest test in the group phase.
Australia's women have a rich history in the World University Games, having won gold in 2007 and bronze medals in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2013. With a well-balanced and experienced side, the Emerging Opals will be looking to return to the podium in Chinese Taipei.
Emerging Opals Schedule (all times AEST)
August 21: Australia vs Lithuania @ 10:00pm August 22: Australia vs Argentina @ 7:30pm August 23: Australia vs Russia @ 2:30pm August 25: Quarterfinals August 26: Semifinals August 28: Grand Final
Keely FROLING (University of Canberra, WNBL) Darcee GARBIN (Townsville, WNBL) Megan MCKAY (Saint Mary’s, NCAA) Vanessa PANOUSIS (Virginia Tech, NCAA) Lauren SCHERF (University of Canberra, WNBL) Alex SHARP (Wake Forest, NCAA) Alanna SMITH (Stanford, NCAA) Tahlia TUPAEA (Sydney Uni, WNBL) Carly TURNER (Saint Mary’s, NCAA) Kristy WALLACE (Baylor, NCAA) Abigail WEHRUNG (University of Canberra, WNBL) Alex WILSON (Sydney Uni, WNBL)