The stage is set for the first-ever 3x3 trans-Tasman basketball showdown later this month, with Basketball Australia (BA) announcing the Women’s and Men’s Gangurrus teams to play New Zealand for an inaugural 3x3 series in Invercargill from October 25-28.
While Australia’s women secured the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup gold medal earlier this year, the team traveling to New Zealand is a new-look group, providing a valuable international opportunity to play against the 3x3 Tall Ferns.
The Women’s team is Mikhaela Cann (Logan Thunder), Teyla Evans (Eltham Wildcats), Bride Kennedy-Hopoate and Jacqui Trotto (Ringwood Hawks).
The Gangurrus Men feature a group of exciting emerging talent, with three athletes still in their teens, currently scholarship holders at the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence at the AIS in Canberra
The Men’s team is Josh Dent, Jacob Furphy, James O’Donnell (all CoE) and Dan Trist (Frankston Blues).
Women’s coach Damon Lowery says the team is keen to re-ignite the Trans-Tasman rivalry.
“We’ve battled the Kiwis at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and two Asia Cups in Singapore,” said Lowery.
“The games are always hotly contested, and I anticipate this series to be no different. This hit-out gives us the opportunity to consolidate our playing style, which is invaluable in the lead up to the 2024 Olympic Qualifying tournament’’.
Australia’s 3x3 Women’s team will be chasing qualification for Paris 2024 at a FIBA tournament in a location to be announced in April next year.
Head Coach Dave Biwer will again guide the men and is looking to the next generation to inject a change of playing style for the Gangurrus, with the Centre of Excellence trio aged just nudging 18 years of age.
“This 3x3 series gives us a chance to look at a new group of players and begin the process of changing our playing style to put us in a better position to compete on the world stage,” he said.
“We’ve had plenty of success in Asia, but our appetite has changed, and we want to taste world wins. With this picture in mind, this series will give players and coaches the experience we need to reach our goals,” said Biwer.
The tournament is the first international competition since the announcement by Commonwealth Games Australia of Green2Gold2Great funding, which will benefit both the women’s and men’s 3x3 programs, as well as the 3x3 wheelchair programs.
The series is played out over eight games for both men’s and women’s, with the winner taking home the inaugural 3x3 Trans-Tasman Challenge Plate.
The national team games are the showcase event of the 2023 edition of the 3x3 Cup, which brings together some of the best young talent from across Aotearoa to compete for the 3x3 Cup trophy.
Find out more about the Kiwi squads at Basketball New Zealand.
Watch 3x3 via the the FIBA YouTube here.