Seven members of the squad that secured a bronze medal at last year’s FIBA Under 18 Women’s Asian Championship will return to the Gems roster that will head to Thailand for July’s FIBA Under 19 Women’s World Cup.
Having secured bronze medals in 2013 and 2015, this Gems roster will be looking to make amends for 2017’s disappointing sixth place finish which came off the back of winning the Under 17 World Championship just a year prior, and look to secure the nation’s first gold at this level since 1993.
Isobel Anstey, Agnes Emma-Nnopu, Ashlee Hannan, Miela Goodchild, Lily Scanlon, Jazmin Shelley and Samantha Simons form a seven-strong contingent of returning players from the Asian Championship, although Scanlon did not see the court in that tournament due to injury. All seven boast World Cup experience at the Under 17 level, with Shelley, Goodchild and Simons winning gold in 2016, with the remaining four players securing bronze in 2018. Shelley and Simons also featured in the 2017 Under 19 World Cup, which Shelley finished as the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.6 points per game.
Four of the five players who did not feature in the Asian Championship side were members of the 2018 Under 17 World Cup team, including All-Star Five member Shyla Heal who finished that tournament as the second-leading scorer overall. Her 12-point final quarter in the bronze medal playoff against Hungary helped to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for the Sapphires. NCAA Division I-bound duo Isabelle Bourne and Alexandra Fowler will bolster the front court, whilst Gemma Potter’s shooting, which earned her a three-point shootout victory at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp earlier this year, helps give the Gems’ offence another dimension.
Chelsea D’Angelo is the lone player on the roster to have not represented Australia in 2018, having last donned the green and gold at the 2017 FIBA Under 17 Oceania Championship. However the Traralgon product’s form at both the Under 20 National Championships and with Nunawading in NBL1 has been far too strong to ignore, particularly following a 23-point outing against a Centre of Excellence side featuring a number of players in the original 17-player squad just three weeks ago.
The Gems have plenty of recent history against the teams that they will face in the group stage, having faced both Hungary and the United States in knockout games in recent years and taking on South Korea twice at last year’s Under 18 Asian Championship, losing in the group stage before reversing the result to secure bronze.
The US side will come in as strong favourites to win the tournament, particularly given their team is brimming with Top 30 recruits and current NCAA Division I high-major players, but the remaining teams will be no pushovers, as they have proven in games against the Australians in recent years. Whilst there is no real ‘Group of Death’ due to the fact that all 16 teams in the tournament qualify for the knockout stage, the Gems group will certainly be the toughest of the four and emerging with a position in the top two could open up a favourable draw in the latter stages.
Gems FIBA Under-19 World Cup Squad Isobel ANSTEY Victoria Isabelle BOURNE Australian Capital Territory Chelsea D'ANGELO Victoria Agnes EMMA-NNOPU Victoria Alexandra FOWLER Queensland Ashlee HANNAN Australian Capital Territory Miela GOODCHILD Queensland Shyla HEAL New South Wales Gemma POTTER Victoria Lily SCANLON Victoria Jazmin SHELLEY Victoria Samantha SIMONS South Australia Dee BUTLER Head Coach David HERBERT Coach Claudia BRASSARD Coach Dr. Maja MARKOVIC Doctor Jessica THORNTON Physiotherapist Donna TURNER Team Manager Peter LONERGAN Head of Delegation Gems Under-19 World Cup Schedule (All games streamed LIVE on FIBA’s YouTube Channel)
July 20: Gems vs USA at 3.15pm July 21: Gems vs Hungary at 3.15pm July 23: Gems vs Korea at 3.00pm July 24: Round of 16 July 26: Quarter-Finals July 27: Semi-Finals July 28: Medal Games