The Australian Opals 2006 Women’s World Championship team will be officially inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame, announced at the largest gathering of past and present Opals. This will be the first team in history to be inducted into the prestigious Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.
Australia defeated Russia in the 2006 World Championship gold medal game 91-74, Australian Penny Taylor was named MVP of the tournament.
Over 200 people joined the Opals function in Sydney to celebrate one of Australia’s most successful sporting teams and the announcement that the 2006 team will enter the Hall of Fame was met with a rousing reception.
Head Coach Jan Stirling remembers the impact of the win that shocked the basketball world.
“It was a surreal moment that’s for sure, we certainly didn’t go in as favourites to win. The gold medal was a culmination of 50 years of effort from the Opals teams before us and our focus on persistence and resilience was key to our win. We spoke a lot about the legacy of the Opals and the responsibility of playing in the green and gold and everything that it stands for. I can’t think of a more deserving Australian team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and the fact that they are the first to do so, is, in my opinion fitting.” said Stirling.
Captain of the 2006 gold medal winning team Lauren Jackson stood on stage with her former teammates when the announcement was made.
“I can’t think of a better team to be the first inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame. This group of incredible athletes pulled out something remarkable to win the gold and they are all so deserving to be honouring this way. To see them all here today is really emotional, I’m so proud to stand up here with them,” Jackson said.
The official induction will occur at the next Australian Basketball Hall of Fame function.
2006 Gold Medal World Championship Team Members
NO. 4 ERIN PHILLIPS
NO. 5 TULLY BEVILAQUA
NO.6 JENNY SCREEN
NO.7 PENNY TAYLOR
NO.8 EMMA RANDALL
NO.9 HOLLIE GRIMA
NO.10 KRISTI HARROWER
NO.11 LAURA HODGES
NO.12 BELINDA SNELL
NO.13 JENNY WHITTLE
NO.14 EMILY MCINERNEY
NO.15 LAUREN JACKSON (CAPTAIN)
HEAD COACH: JAN STIRLING