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The Road to Rio: Opals named for Olympic test event
Basketball Australia have announced the Opals team who will play in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games test event that commences on 15 January 2016.
The team of 12 named for the test event being held at Carioca Arena at the Barra Olympic Park, includes a host of WNBL stars, including many that won bronze at the 2014 FIBA World Championships. However overseas commitments and injury have meant a host of other stars were unavailable for selection.
Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce is however excited by the chance to familiarise his squad with both the city and venue.
“It is always a fantastic opportunity to play the host in their country ahead of a major tournament," shared Joyce. "We had the same opportunity playing in Turkey prior to the 2014 World Championships. It is always positive for the team to familiarise themselves in the venue that will be part of the 2016 Olympic Games.”
“The team taken to this event will allow us to continue to develop our style of play, cohesion and develop the culture required for continued success. All of these elements are dynamic and as stated players will be added to this team prior to the Olympic Games in 2016.”
Returning to the Opals is Rebecca Allen who has fully recovered from her serious knee injury that kept her off court for more than 6 months. It is a surprisingly swift return for the talent forward given she only returned to playing in November for the SEQ Stars in the WNBL.
The Opals leave Australia for Brazil on 10 January 2015, opening with an unofficial game against Brazil on the 13th before international contests against the hosts, Argentina and Venezuela.
Joyce also confirmed that the Opals will then participate in training camps in March and April followed by tours of Japan and Europe in preparing for the Rio Olympics.
Jayco Opals Test Event Squad: Name Surname Club 1 Rebecca Allen SEQ Stars 2 Suzy Batkovic Townsville Fire 3 Abby Bishop University of Canberra Capitals 4 Natalie Burton Perth Lynx 5 Katie Rae Ebzery Sydney University Flames 6 Cayla George Townsville Fire 7 Rachel Jarry SEQ Stars 8 Tessa Lavey Perth Lynx 9 Tess Madgen Melbourne Boomers 10 Leilani Mitchell Adelaide Lightning 11 Erin Phillips LA Sparks (WNBA) 12 Stephanie Talbot University of Canberra Capitals Head Coach – Brendan Joyce Assistant Coaches – Damian Cotter & Lori Chizik