The team is dominated by the cream of the WNBL, in addition to WNBA and European-based stars looking to return the Jayco Opals to the World Championship podium.
Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce has ushered in a new era for one of Australian sport’s most successful national teams, picking six World Championship debutants to complement his core of seasoned international stars.
ABC continue their unrivalled coverage of Australian basketball on the international stage with ALL Jayco Australian Opals games at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on ABC2.
Still only 23, Liz Cambage embarks on her second World Championship campaign, leading an experienced group including Laura Hodges, Belinda Snell and Marianna Tolo.
The veterans of the team, Hodges and Snell bring 10 major tournaments of combined experience, including six Olympic Games and four World Championships.
Currently chasing a WNBA Championship with the Phoenix Mercury, star duo Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor have been named in the final 12 after both missed out on the 2012 London Olympic Games team.
For Taylor, the return to the green and gold comes after a horror two-year run of knee injuries that forced her to withdraw from the London campaign, while Phillips has been welcomed back into the program after missing out on selection two years ago.
Headlining the six players to make their first FIBA World Championship for Women appearance is 2012 London Olympian Rachel Jarry, along with fellow rising stars Rebecca Allen, Natalie Burton and Tessa Lavey.
Cayla Francis joins Leilani Mitchell in the team that will travel to Turkey, with the American-born Mitchell capping off a remarkable 12 months to earn selection.
Born to an Australian mother and American father, the WNBA star was brought into the Jayco Opals setup during a successful debut Wattle Valley WNBL season, pledging her allegiances to Australia prior to her international debut in July’s tour of Japan.
Joyce believes the team that will take on the world’s best in Turkey represents a generation shift in the Jayco Opals program.
“The past two years has seen a significant turnover of players in the program, presenting opportunities to young players and others on the periphery to stake their claim,” Joyce said.
“Injury, retirements and unavailability has opened the door for a new generation of players to become pillars of the program and continue the tradition of success on the international stage.
“This team represents the changing face of the Jayco Opals, with a blend of emerging talent and established stars ready to take on the world’s best.”
The Wattle Valley WNBL continues to be the foundation of the Jayco Opals, with no fewer than nine of the final 12 playing their club basketball in the competition.
“The WNBL is and will continue to be one of the premier basketball competitions in the world,” Joyce said.
“This competition continues to unearth talent that feeds through to the national team, with the likes of Rebecca Allen, Tessa Lavey and Natalie Burton the latest players to graduate to the Jayco Opals.
“Having a league of the standard of the WNBL will ensure the Jayco Opals continue to push for international honours.”
The Jayco Opals will go into a major international tournament without Lauren Jackson for the first time 1998, with the all-time great succumbing to a knee injury, while Alice Kunek will also miss as she recovers from a serious shoulder injury.
Joyce and his coaching staff have named three emergencies for the team of Natalie Hurst, Tess Madgen and Gabrielle Richards.
The Jayco Opals open their 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Istanbul against Cuba on Saturday night 27 September at 9:15pm AEST.
Based in the Istanbul, the Jayco Opals will also face Korea and Belarus in their Group C fixtures leading into the knockout rounds and eventually the tournament final in the early hours of Monday 6 October.
CLICK HERE to see the full schedule for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.
Fans won’t miss a minute of the action from Turkey with all Jayco Australian Opals games to be broadcast LIVE and in full on ABC2 as part of their extensive 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women coverage.
The 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women will be held in Turkey from 28 September to 6 October.
Jayco Australian Opals Team – 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women
Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers
Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers
Elizabeth Cambage – Dandenong Rangers
Cayla Francis – Townsville Fire
Laura Hodges – Adelaide Lightning
Rachel Jarry – Melbourne Boomers
Tessa Lavey – Bendigo Spirit
Leilani Mitchell – Sydney Uni Flames
Erin Phillips – Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Belinda Snell – Bendigo Spirit
Penny Taylor – Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)
Head Coach: Brendan Joyce
Assistant Coaches: Damian Cotter and Lori Chizik
Technical Assistant Coach: Scott Butler
Jayco Australian Opals pre-FIBA World Championship for Women
Jayco Australian Opals v USA
Saturday 20 September @ Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris 1:30am (All times AEST)
Jayco Australian Opals v France
Sunday 21 September @ Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris 4:00am
Jayco Australian Opals v China
Sunday 21 September @ Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris 9:30pm
Jayco Australian Opals FIBA World Championship for Women – Group Stage Fixture
Jayco Australian Opals v Cuba
Saturday 27 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 9:15pm (All times AEST)
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally
Jayco Australian Opals v Korea
Sunday 28 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 9:15pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally
Jayco Australian Opals v Belarus
Tuesday 30 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 11:30pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally
For all the latest on the Jayco Opals ahead of their journey to Turkey be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.