Experienced medallists and exciting new faces will represent the Seven Consulting Opals on home soil during this month’s 2023 FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, which tips off in Sydney this Monday.
World Cup bronze medallists Tess Madgen, Darcee Garbin and Anneli Maley headline the 12-player team which also features players who have reached the podium at Asia Cup competition including Alice Kunek (silver, 2017) and 2021 bronze medallists Keely Froling, Lauren Nicholson and Lauren Scherf.
This is Garbin’s third consecutive Asia Cup campaign having played in 2019 in India and Jordan in 2021.
Victorian duo Chloe Bibby and Chantel Horvat and WA’s Amy Atwell will make their Opals debut in front of family and friends at the tournament which runs from June 26 to July 2 at the Quaycentre.
Shyla Heal and Maddy Rocci get their opportunity on the back of strong WNBL form. With experience and success leading junior sides at FIBA competition, Shannon Seebohm takes the reigns as head coach for the first time while Sandy Brondello leads New York Liberty in the WNBA.
Unfortunately, injury and unavailability impacted the 19-player extended squad which was named last month with Marianna Tolo (foot) and Steph Reid (calf) sidelined, while Nyadiew Puoch and Isobel Borlase are preparing for the FIBA Women’s Under-19 World Cup in Spain next month.
With the team assembled for its preparation camp in Sydney ahead of the first game, Seebohm said he was pleased to lock in the final 12 and every member was looking forward to the challenge of competing against Asia’s best.
“It’s always a big moment in basketball when an Opals team comes together and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve on the court. We’ve got a good mix of players with the experience of Tess, Darcee and Anneli, while it’s very exciting for Chloe, Chantel and Amy who make their Opals debut.
“Between both international and domestic basketball calendars, schedules do become very busy, so we did face challenges with player availability as well as those trying to recover from injuries.
“The positive is that this gives opportunities to other players, like our debutants, who have the chance to gain valuable experience against international players and represent Australia, which is a special moment for any professional athlete.
“We hope sports fans and the basketball community will get behind the team and come to the Quaycentre and cheer us on.”
Top of Group B, the Opals launch their Asia Cup campaign against the Philippines on the opening night of the tournament on Monday June 26, play Chinese Taipei on Tuesday June 27 and then complete their pool games against third-ranked Japan on Wednesday June 28.
Thursday is a tournament rest day before finals are played across Friday and Saturday with medal games contested on Sunday July 2. World Cup silver medallist China headlines Group A which also features Korea, New Zealand and Lebanon.
Make sure you secure your seats to the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup, buy tickets here.
Sami Whitcomb, Ezi Magbegor, Jade Melbourne, Kristy Wallace, Cayla George and Alanna Smith are currently competing in America and were unavailable for selection.