Basketball Australia today announced that Olympic silver medalists Japan will head to Sydney next month to play three matches against the Australian Opals in the lead-up to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022.
Japan is one of the favourites coming into September’s Women’s World Cup and to have an international team of this calibre in Sydney next month is a coup for basketball and another crucial preparation opportunity for world number three Australia ahead of their home World Cup.
Two games will be played at Sydney Olympic Park at the Quaycentre, the third game will be hosted regionally at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
In announcing the games Basketball Australia has released the extended Australian Opals World Cup squad that includes WNBL MVP Anneli Maley, 2 x Olympian Cayla George and All-Star 5 captain Sami Whitcomb.
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said this was great news for basketball fans.
“Opals supporters will have the opportunity to see their basketball idols take on Japan in Sydney and Newcastle,” Mr Ayres said.
“The NSW Government is proud to host the FIBA Basketball World Cup later in the year, and these matches will give the Opals the chance to play together against a quality Japanese team in preparation for that.
“These events will provide a significant boost to the visitor economy. All Opals fans, whether from NSW or interstate, should consider supporting our incredible team.
“The FIBA World Cup is a key deliverable of the NSW Government’s 10 World Cups in 10 Years initiative, which supports our ambition for Sydney and NSW to be the events capitals of the Asia Pacific.”
Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello is full of praise for the opportunity to play more games at home.
“COVID certainly threw up challenges with our inability to compete internationally and gain vital match practice. Having games against a quality opponent such as Japan in Sydney is invaluable for our squad and it will give the fans a taste of what’s to come in September.
“We expect Japan to be one of the favourites heading into the World Cup and to have the opportunity to test our squad against them next month is a great result,” said Brondello.
Japan Women’s National Team Head Coach Toru Onzuka is looking forward to playing the Opals in Sydney.
“It is our great pleasure and honor to play in Australia”. Basketball Australia and Japan Basketball Association have been working in partnership to develop basketball in both countries through exchanges of national teams and staff members.”
“We would like to thank Basketball Australia for inviting Japan Women’s National Team and we truly hope we can empower not only the fans in Japan but also the fans in Australia,” said Coach Onzuka.
Australian Opal Keely Froling is excited about the games and knows these will be critical preparation on the road to the World Cup.
“We will all be bringing our A-game, we know the quality of the Japanese team and the discipline they play with so this is an incredible opportunity for us. We all want a podium finish in September and the only way that will happen is with quality international matches under our belt. We appreciate the opportunity to play at home and we can assure the fans we will be putting it all out on the court next month,” Froling remarked.
The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 and lead-in events are supported by the NSW Government through its major events and tourism agency, Destination NSW and the Office of Sport.
Australia vs Japan – Game Details
Friday 27 May Quaycentre 7.30pm
Sunday 29 May Quaycentre 3.00pm
Tuesday 31 May Newcastle Entertainment Centre 7.30pm
FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022
The FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 will be held at Sydney Olympic Park from Thursday, 22 September to Saturday, 1 October.
Returning to local shores for the first time since Australia hosted in 1994, FIBA’s flagship women’s event will see 12 powerhouse basketball nations compete in 38 games across 10 days of action, all vying for the coveted World title.
The Opals, who are automatic qualifiers alongside rivals Team USA, have medalled in five of the last six World Cups, including a gold medal in 2006.
Basketball Australia Women’s World Cup Opals Squad 2022
Rebecca Allen New York Liberty *
Zitina Aokuso Townsville Fire
Sara Blicavs Southside Flyers
Rebecca Cole Southside Flyers
Keely Froling Sydney Uni Flames
Darcee Garbin Perth Lynx
Cayla George Melbourne Boomers
Shyla Heal Sydney Uni Flames
Ezi Magbegor Melbourne Boomers/Seattle Storm*
Tess Madgen Melbourne Boomers
Anneli Maley Bendigo Spirit/ Chicago Sky*
Jade Melbourne UC Capitals/ Seattle Storm*
Lauren Nicholson Townsville Fire
Stephanie Reid Townville Fire
Maddison Rocci Southside Flyers
Alanna Smith Adelaide Lightning/Indiana Fever*
Lauren Scherf Perth Lynx
Stephanie Talbot Adelaide Lightning/Seattle Storm*
Marianna Tolo Basket Landes**
Kristy Wallace Southside Flyers/Atlanta Dream*
Sami Whitcomb Perth Lynx/New York Liberty *