Opals name squad heading into second week of camp
21 May 2012
Following an intense five days of training at the Australian Institute of Sport last week, Basketball Australia has named the Australian Opals players who will attend the second phase of their camp, as they continue preparations for London.
Head coach of the Opals Carrie Graf said that the first week of camp saw a number of encouraging signs surrounding the group’s progress, and that she looks forward to moving ahead with a reduced squad into the next week of training.
“Our veteran players really stood up and led by example, setting the standard in terms of intensity,” she said.
“Probably the stand-out at this camp was Suzy Batkovic. She came in focussed and really maximised every moment she had on the floor and really led the way from the post,” she said.
“Kristi Harrower looked dynamic again and her leadership qualities were really big for us and we’re really excited about what those point guards can do as we progress further,” she said.
Also named in the squad was superstar Lauren Jackson and veteran Belinda Snell, along with rising stars Liz Cambage, Jenna O’Hea, Marianna Tolo and Abby Bishop.
Graf also made mention of the performance of some of the more experienced Opals.
“There are experienced players in this group who have been Olympians before, some who weren’t fortunate enough to make the World Championships in 2010. I was particularly impressed with the job some of those players did coming into this, determined to make a point about their stakes in making this Olympic team,” she said.
The next phase of the Australian Opals AIS camp tips off Monday, with the team training right through until Wednesday 30 May, before a reduced squad departs for Europe for a series of matches against a number of European teams, including Russia and the Czech Republic, before the team returns to Australia in time for The Farewell Series, a three-game event against Brazil with games at Hisense Arena, Bendigo Stadium and the new State Basketball Centre in Knox.
“It’s down to a much tighter number and it’s a real opportunity to be developing our chemistry,” she said.
“We have some five-on-five stuff scheduled with the AIS Men’s team coming up, and having our athletes play together is critical to getting the group understanding each other and playing together,” said Graf.
2012 AUSTRALIAN OPALS SQUAD CAMP 2
Suzy BATKOVIC / 192cm / Forward/Centre / 17 Dec, 1980 / Adelaide Lightning
Abby BISHOP / 189 cm / Forward / 29 Nov, 1988 / Adelaide Lightning
Elizabeth CAMBAGE / 203cm / Centre / 18 Aug, 1991 / Bulleen Boomers
Kristi HARROWER / 163cm / Guard / 4 Mar, 1975 / Bendigo Spirit
Laura HODGES (nee Summerton) / 188cm / Forward / 13 Dec, 1983 / Bracco Geas Sesto, Italy
Lauren JACKSON / 195cm / Forward/Centre / 11 May, 1981 / Ros Casares, Spain
Rachel JARRY / 185cm / Forward / 6 Dec, 1991 / Bulleen Boomers
Kathleen MACLEOD / 168cm / Guard / 23 Oct, 1986 / Dandenong Rangers
Jenna O’HEA / 185cm / Guard/Forward / 6 Jun, 1987 / Dandenong Rangers
Samantha RICHARDS / 168cm / Guard / 24 Feb, 1983 / Bulleen Boomers
Jennifer SCREEN / 180cm / Guard / 26 Feb, 1982 / Adelaide Lightning
Belinda SNELL / 180cm / Guard/Forward / 10 Jan, 1981 / Sydney Uni. Flames
Marianna TOLO / 196cm / Centre / 2 Jul, 1989 / Canberra Capitals
Hanna ZAVECZ / 183cm / Guard/Forward / 21 Aug, 1985 / Uniqa Euroleasing Sopron, Hungary
*Erin PHILLIPS is not in camp but is still in Opals contention for the Olympics