Named in the squad are the twelve bronze-medallists from the 2014 FIBA World Championships, with a number of 2012 London Olympians that missed the World Championships also included in the squad, including the likes of Lauren Jackson, Kathleen Macleod, Elizabeth Cambage, Jenna O’Hea, Suzy Batkovic and Abby Bishop.
The combination of Jackson and Cambage, widely regarded as one of the deadliest frontcourt duos in the world, were late injury withdrawals from the World Championships, but both have been included in the squad as they continue along the road to recovery in time to feature in the Opals qualifiers against the Tall Ferns.
The WNBL is strongly represented amongst the athletes, with 28 of the 34 named players featuring in the WNBL this season.
Marianna Tolo and Erin Phillips, who both claimed a bronze medal with the Opals in Turkey, lead a strong contingent of internationally based stars, which also includes veterans Jenna O’Hea and Natalie Hurst.
Sporting a mix of established Opals stars with Olympic experience and emerging young talent, Head Coach Brendan Joyce said that it was important to select a squad that could carry the momentum built at the World Championships.
“It is an exciting time for the Jayco Opals as we begin our preparation for the Olympic qualification and the Olympic games in Rio 2016. Once again we have named an extended squad to build towards the Rio Olympics, this was proven to be successful for our World Championship campaign building depth and competition in the squad,” Joyce said.
“There is a lot of work to be done across the next 6 months to secure Olympic qualification. We are under no illusions that we need to improve across the next 18 months and absolutely must maintain our strong team culture and great team chemistry to continue the Jayco Opals success at the Olympic games.”
“It is pleasing to see so many of our players recognised with WNBA opportunities after a successful World Championship campaign, it reinforces how highly the Jayco Opal program is respected throughout the world. ”
A shortened squad of a maximum of 24 players for the upcoming camp at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Canberra will be announced this week.
The Olympic qualifiers will be played in August.
Extended Jayco Australian Opals Squad
1. Rebecca Allen - Melbourne Boomers
2. Suzy Batkovic - Townsville Fire
3. Sara Blicvas - Bendigo Spirit
4. Abby Bishop - University of Canberra Capitals
5. Alex Bunton - Adelaide Lightning
6. Natalie Burton - Melbourne Boomers
7. Elizabeth Cambage
8. Rebecca Cole - Melbourne Boomers
9. Aimie Clydesdale - Dandenong Rangers
10. Stephanie Cumming - Townsville Fire
11. Katie Rae Ebzery - Sydney Uni Flames
12. Cayla Francis - Townsville Fire
13. Laura Hodges - Adelaide Lightning
14. Natalie Hurst Peac – Pecs (Hungary)
15. Lauren Jackson - University of Canberra Capitals
16. Rachel Jarry - Melbourne Boomers
17. Alice Kunek - Dandenong Rangers
18. Tessa Lavey - Bendigo Spirit
19. Tess Madgen - Melbourne Boomers
20. Kathleen McLeod - Dandenong Rangers
21. Leilani Mitchell - Sydney Uni Flames
22. Mia Newley - Townsville Fire
23. Jenna O'Hea - Lattes Montpellier (France)
24. Erin Phillips - LA Sparks
25. Elyse Penaluna - Bendigo Spirit
26. Gabrielle Richards - Bendigo Spirit
27. Lauren Scherf - Dandenong Rangers
28. Belinda Snell - Bendigo Spirit
29. Stephanie Talbot - University of Canberra Capitals
30. Penny Taylor - Dandenong Rangers
31. Marianna Tolo - Bourges (France)
32. Louella Tomlinson - West Coast Waves
33. Kelly Wilson - Bendigo Spirit
34. Hanna Zavecz - University of Canberra Capitals
Head Coach – Brendan Joyce
Assistant Coaches – Damian Cotter, Lori Chizik
Analyst – Scott Butler
Doctor – Dr Simone Page
Physiotherapist – Rachel McAlister/Kay Copeland
Soft Tissue Therapist – Kerry Lawrence
Manager – Tamara Sheppard