Some of Australia’s best female talent will get a taste of international basketball this month.
China will come up against the Chemist Warehouse Opals in Canberra on September 19, while the rest of the national squad will form a secondary side to play WNBL, NBL1 and Centre of Excellence teams in the China Challenge.
The Opals are set take the court in Canberra for the first time in six-years and just the third time in 20 years. The game will provide the squad with valuable match practice ahead of their FIBA Woman’s Asia Cup opener against the Philippines on the 24th in Bengaluru, India.
After completing training camps on the Gold Coast in April and then Phoenix in July, the Opals recently named their 16 strong squad for Canberra, with the final team for India to be announced closer to the beginning of the tournament.
The game will cap off a huge week for woman’s basketball in the nation’s capital, with the WNBL set to launch their 40th season at Parliament House on the 18th.
In addition, China B lands on September 8 and thanks to Deakin University, who are continuing their outstanding support of women’s basketball by partnering the Victorian leg of the challenge, will play the Melbourne Boomers at Casey Stadium on September 10, head to Bendigo to take on the Spirit on September 11 before returning to Melbourne to tackle the NBL1 All-Stars at Kilsyth Stadium the following day.
Next, a trip to the nation’s capital to face reigning Chemist Warehouse WNBL champions the UC Capitals on September 16 before a game against Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence two days later on September 18.
The visitors will move on to Sydney for practice and a spot of sight seeing ahead of a September 20 date with the Sydney Uni Flames.
Basketball Australia’s head of women in basketball Lauren Jackson says the China Challenge highlights the strong relationship between the two basketball nations.
“China’s a powerhouse of international sport and it’s fantastic to be able to continue our long-standing relationship. We are very proud to be hosting them while they take on our Australian teams,’’ she says.
“From the COE’s stars of tomorrow, through to the All-Stars from the successful first season of NBL1, to four of our Chemist Warehouse WNBL clubs preparing for their upcoming seasons, we will have an array of elite Australian female basketball talent on show against China.”
The Opals will convene for a short training camp prior to the game against China.
Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Squad
Rebecca Allen New York Liberty
Abby Bishop JCU Townsville Fire
Sara Blicavs TBC
Elizabeth Cambage Las Vegas Aces
Katie Ebzery Perth Lynx
Darcee Garbin JCU Townsville Fire
Cayla George Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Ezi Magbegor Deakin Melbourne Boomers
Lauren Mansfield Perth Lynx
Leilani Mitchell Phoenix Mercury
Lauren Nicholson Adelaide Lightening
Jenna O’Hea Southside Flyers
Nicole Seekamp Adelaide Lightening
Stephanie Talbot Adelaide Lightening/Minnesota Lynx
Marianna Tolo UC Capitals
Sammi Whitcomb Seattle Storm