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Basketball women arrive in Rio with preparation on track

3 August 2016

BASKETBALL: The Australian women’s basketball team arrived into Rio on Tuesday and will hit the court almost immediately after settling into the Athletes' Village. 

The squad will train on Tuesday afternoon and then scrimmage against Serbia on Wednesday as they prepare to face Brazil in the opening game of the tournament. 

“We have some things to work on and make sure we practice today and then scrimmage with Serbia tomorrow,” head coach Brendan Joyce said. 

“We need to acclimatise and we’ve done it before. We want to get the kinks out and work on a couple of things for the first few games. It will be good to get on the court.” 

The team toured the United States ahead of flying into Rio, and Joyce believes the competition they faced will hold them in good stead. 

“We went through the States and played quality games against Canada, France, who are rated number four (in the world) although I think they’re really number three, and the USA who are number one. It was great preparation. 

The tour allowed Joyce to assimilate captain Penny Taylor and co-vice-captain Erin Phillips into the squad after the pair had been playing in the WNBA. 

“We haven’t had Penny or Erin in any of our previous lead up games and the tour allowed them to learn the plays at the same time everyone was finding their role” Joyce said. 

“I was really rapt to see how they came into it, and understood what we were doing.” 

Australia can expect a raucous atmosphere in the opening game against the host nation, but the meticulous planning ahead of the Games has seen the squad prepared for what lays ahead. 

“We have spent a lot of time on that part of it and we’ve worked with sports psychologists and tried to build resilience and be prepared for it,” Joyce said. 

“We have done that in our preparation making sure the first timers were part of tours. We played Spain in Spain, France in France and playing at Madison Square Garden against the USA, that atmosphere was intense and will be as good as we could get so the girls have been exposed to some big crowds.”

Kevin Diggerson

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