The Seven Consulting Opals begin their quest for a spot at the Paris Olympics this week.
The 12-player team is in Belem, Brazil preparing for game one of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament which tips on Friday at 10am, AEDT.
Australia then take on Germany on Sunday, followed by Serbia on Monday.
The Opals need to finish top 3 in their Pool to qualify for the Olympics, so effectively one win will see Australia punch their ticket to the Paris Games.
Australia is currently ranked World No.3 behind China and the USA.
HOW TO WATCH
Australia’s three games are live on ESPN Ch510 and Kayo.
|Friday February 9
|Australia vs Brazil. 10am, AEDT
|Sunday February 11
|Australia vs Germany, 7am AEDT
|Monday February 12
|Australia vs Serbia, 7am AEDT
Ranked No.8, host nation BRAZIL have been boosted by the inclusion of college star and 204cm centre Kamilla Cardoso who is leading South Carolina in scoring and rebounding.
The 22-year-old guided Brazil to a gold medal at last year’s FIBA AmeriCup with a 20-point-11-rebound double-double in the Final which earned her MVP honours.
GERMANY’s improving women’s program is chasing its first Olympic appearance.
The No.25 nation is led by veteran point and captain Svenja Brunckhorst.
Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally is fresh off winning the WNBA’s Most Improved Player award last season and will be top of the Opals scout. Her sister Nyara, who plays for New York Liberty, is also on the team.
Forward Leonie Fiebich is a familiar name to Australian hoops fans. The 24-year-old, who last week secured a training contract with Sandy Brondello’s New York Liberty, was the import star for Warwick Senators in 2022 winning MVP in their NBL1 National Championship.
Always a tough proposition, world No.10 SERBIA is coming off a fifth-place finish at last year’s FIBA Euro Basket.
Point guard Yvonne Anderson has proved a handful for Australia in recent years, including the 2022 FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Belgrade.
The Opals last played Serbia at the 2022 FIBA World Cup in Sydney where they prevailed, 69-54, with Bec Allen (16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists) leading Australia.
Brazil has been a happy hunting ground for Serbia who eliminated Australia from the 2016 Rio Olympics in the quarter finals and went on to win a bronze medal.