CHEMIST WAREHOUSE AUSTRALIAN OPALS READY TO BEGIN 2018 FIBA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN

CHEMIST WAREHOUSE AUSTRALIAN OPALS READY TO BEGIN 2018 FIBA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN

The wait is finally over for the Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals with their 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup campaign in Tenerife, Spain, tipping off on September 22.

Running until September 30, the Opals (ranked fourth in the world) will take on Nigeria (ranked 34th), Argentina (ranked 15th) and Turkey (ranked 7th) in the pool stage.

If they finish on top of Group B, Australia will automatically advance to the Quarter-Finals but a second or third-placed finish will see them placed into a Quarter-Final qualification game while the team that finishes fourth in the group will be knocked out.

Matches from that point on are elimination games, up until the medal games on September 30.

FOX SPORTS Australia announced a landmark broadcast deal last year that included exclusive rights to the FIBA Women’s World Cup which means every game of the Chemist Warehouse Opals tournament will be shown live.

The time difference with Spain means every game will be shown in the evening Australian time.

There have been two changes to the initial Opals team announced in August with Sami Whitcomb and Tessa Lavey coming in to replaced the injured Leilani Mitchell and Lauren Mansfield.

Whitcomb will make her national team debut at the FIBA Women's World Cup alongside Alex Bunton while Rebecca Allen, who competed at the 2014 FIBA World Cup and Tess Madgen, who last represented the Opals at the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships, are both back in the side.

They are joined by four players from Australia's Rio Olympics team in Cayla George, Liz Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery and Steph Talbot with 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalists Ezi Magbegor and Jenna O’Hea as well as 2017 FIBA Asia Cup silver medalist Alanna Smith rounding out the roster.

“Our biggest strengths will be our depth, teamwork, versatility and defence,” said head coach Sandy Brondello.

“We will have line-ups that can score in multiple ways as well as be very strong defensively.”

The Opals claimed FIBA World Cup bronze medals in 1998, 2002 and 2014 as well as a gold medal in 2006 and will be aiming to replicate that success this year.

The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Schedule for the FIBA Women’s World Cup (all times AEST):

September 22: Australia vs. Nigeria at 8.30pm
September 23: Australia vs. Argentina at 8.00pm
September 25: Australia vs. Turkey at 8.30pm
September 26: Quarter-Final Qualifications
September 28: Quarter-Finals
September 29: Semi-Finals
September 30: Medal Games

The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Team for the FIBA Women’s World Cup:

NAME TEAM
Rebecca Allen New York Liberty
Alex Bunton Brydens Sydney Uni Flames
Liz Cambage Dallas Wings
Katie-Rae Ebzery Perth Lynx
Cayla George Deakin Melbourne Boomers / Dallas Wings
Tessa Lavey Jayco Dandenong Rangers
Tess Madgen JCU Townsville Fire
Ezi Magbegor Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Jenna O’Hea Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Alanna Smith Stanford University
Stephanie Talbot Deakin Melbourne Boomers / Phoenix Mercury
Sami Whitcomb Seattle Storm