THREE SELECTED TO OPALS FOR WORLD CUP
NUNAWADING BASKETBALL | Three Nunawading Basketball representatives have been selected to the Australian Opals team to contest the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain next month. Nunawading trio; Jenna O’Hea, Rebecca Allen and Alanna Smith were all named following the National Team Camp held in Canberra last week.
Both O’Hea and Smith played integral roles for the Opals in qualifying for the World Cup, performing well at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, where Australia placed second to Japan. O’Hea also helping the Opals to a Gold Medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Allen returns to the Opals line up for the first time since the 2014 FIBA World Cup where Australia took Bronze, the versatile wing sure to be a welcome addition to this Opals roster.
“Bec is a scorer but her length can create issues on defence as well,” Opals Head Coach Sandy Brondello said on the back of her team announcement.
“Our biggest strengths will be our depth, teamwork, versatility and defence.”
“We will have line-ups that can score in multiple ways as well as be very strong defensively.”
“Our focus will be making sure we are ready to play at our best each and every game.”
“If we can focus on the process, the result of winning a medal, which is what we expect of ourselves, will happen.”
The three selections see Nunawading as the most represented program in the Australian side, with O’Hea, Allen and Smith all spending their junior years playing in the Melbourne East Basketball Association and representing the Nunawading Spectres at MUVJBL level. All three spent time at the Australian Institute of Sport / Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence along with the Nunawading Spectres in the South East Australian Basketball League.
“It’s an exciting time for Nunawading Basketball,” Operations Manager Paul Flynn said.
“We can’t wait to see Jenna, Bec and Alanna compete on the world stage for the Opals.”
“It’s a testament to the body of work each dedicates to their game. All three are regularly seen at Nunawading Basketball Centre putting in hours of work whenever they are based in Melbourne. They are world class athletes and world class role models for our current crop of young, aspiring players.”
“To have three Opals come from one association is a fantastic endorsement of the pathway Nunawading Basketball provides, our programs and competitions, and the coaches that have played fundamental roles in the development of each athlete.”
Australia is currently ranked fourth in the world and has drawn Nigeria (34), Argentina (15) and Turkey (7) in Pool B to start their World Cup campaign (draw included below).
The Opals have won claimed World Cup Gold previously in 2006, along with Bronze in 1998, 2002 and 2014.
Every Opals game at the FIBA Women’s World Cup will be televised live on Fox Sports.
Australian Opals FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule (all times AEST):
September 22 v Nigeria 8:30pm
September 23 v Argentina 8:00pm
September 25 v Turkey 8:30pm
September 26: Quarter Finals Qualifications (if required)
September 28: Quarter Finals
September 29: Semi-Finals
September 30: Medal Games
Australian Opals FIBA Women’s World Cup Team:
Rebecca Allen - Nunawading
Jenna O’Hea - Nunawading
Alanna Smith - Nunawading
Alexandra Bunton - Canberra
Elizabeth Cambage - Dandenong
Katie-Rae Ebzery - Newcastle
Cayla George - Eastern Mavericks
Tess Madgen - Eastern Mavericks
Ezi Magebgor - Coburg
Lauren Mansfield - North Adelaide
Steph Talbot - Yorke Valley