A young Seven Consulting Opals team has been announced to tour China in a five-game friendly series against the world number two ranked nation.
After limited games abroad through the last Olympic and World Cup cycles due to the pandemic, the tour, from August 25 to September 3, will be crucial for the fresh-faced squad in the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
With a core of the Australian team currently competing in the WNBA, and head coach Sandy Brondello leading New York Liberty, the 12-player team features three FIBA Asia Cup bronze medallists (Shyla Heal, Alice Kunek and Anneli Maley) plus the senior national debut of teenagers Nyadiew Puoch, Isla Juffermans and Saffron Shiels who represented the Gems at last month’s FIBA Under-19 World Cup.
This year’s No.14 WNBA draft pick Shaniece Swain will also represent Australia for the first time. 29-year-old centre Alex Bunton returns to the team for the first time since the 2018 FIBA World Cup where she was part of the silver-medal winning side.
Coach Cheryl Chambers, leading the team in Brondello’s absence, said the five-game series was a great chance to get a gauge of the squad’s depth heading into an Olympic year.
“It’s great to be playing tour games again and there’s really only WNBL before we pick the team for the Olympic qualifying tournament in February so it’s the last chance to have a look at everyone in an international environment,” she said, “we’ve got a nice mix of players, it’s going to be very exciting.”
Australia last played China in the FIBA Asia Cup semi-final in Sydney last month falling to the eventual gold medallist, 74-60.
Seven Consulting Opals team for China tour
|AZS UMCS Lublin, Poland
|Centre of Excellence
|Australia v China Game Schedule