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Big names return for women's basketball camp

24 March 2014

BASKETBALL: A star-studded Australian women's basketball squad descended on Canberra on Sunday, with several big names welcomed into camp for the first time in preparation for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

WNBA trio Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips and Liz Cambage headline the 25-player squad, joining a host of stars from the WNBL in the first camp since last Sunday’s official draw.

Australia will face South Korea, Cuba and Belarus in the preliminary games of the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Head Coach Brendan Joyce said it was an exciting time for the program to see these stars coming into camp.

“To be able to bring the likes of Penny, Liz and Erin into the fold for this camp is a significant step forward in our preparations for the World Championships,” Joyce said.

“The commitment these players have to the program shows how much it means to them to be a part of this World Championship campaign.

“In Penny and Erin we have two players who have played at the highest level for a number of years, bringing experience, knowledge and leadership to the squad.

“This camp is a great opportunity for those players who weren’t able to attend January’s camp to get a clear understanding of the culture and expectations of the Jayco Opals program.”

The trio are among five Olympians in camp, joining Adelaide Lightning duo Jenni Screen (co-captain) and Laura Hodges. All nine WNBL clubs will be represented at the camp, running from 23-28 March at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Canberra.

The camp will be boosted by the attendance of four-time Olympian and Australia co-captain Lauren Jackson as she continues her rehabilitation from recent Achilles and knee surgery.

Joining Jackson in the rehab group in Canberra will be 2012 London Olympian Rachel Jarry (knee) and two-time WNBL All-Star Five selection Gabrielle Richards (knee), with both spending time in camp next week.

After missing the January camp Logan Thunder duo Kristen Veal and Hanna Zavecz return to the fold, alongside Adelaide Lightning star Jess Foley and Townsville Fire captain Rachael McCully.

Following the announcement of the extended squad for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, two players have been added, with the Bendigo Spirit’s Sara Blicavs and Canberra Capitals centre Alex Bunton to join the camp.

They join the likes of fellow young stars Rebecca Allen, Tessa Lavey, Carley Mijovic and Stephanie Talbot heading to Canberra this week, with CoE youngster Stephanie Collins invited to be part of the training squad.

The additions come after Suzy Batkovic and Jenna O’Hea withdrew from consideration for the FIBA World Championships for Women.

Joyce said the camp in Canberra and April’s camp on the Gold Coast will lay the foundations for the campaign leading into late-September’s FIBA World Championship for Women.

“For the program to be given the best opportunity to success in Turkey, these two camps will be vital,” Joyce said.

“We are able to spend more time working with the players to define the culture and world-class standards of the program.

“Additionally, the two camps give the coaching staff a good number of on-court sessions to introduce the new players to our style of play and further fine tune the players who attended the January camp.”

March Training Camp Squad

Rebecca Allen               Melbourne Boomers

Sara Blicavs                  Bendigo Spirit

Alex Bunton                  Canberra Capitals

Natalie Burton               West Coast Waves

Elizabeth Cambage        Beijing Bulls (China)

Stephanie Collins           BA CoE

Stephanie Cumming       Townsville Fire

Katie-Rae Ebzery           Sydney Flames

Jessica Foley                 Adelaide Lightning

Laura Hodges                Adelaide Lightning

Alice Kunek                   Dandenong Rangers

Tessa Lavey                  Bendigo Spirit

Tess Madgen                 Melbourne Boomers

Rachael McCully             Townsville Fire

Carley Mijovic                 Canberra Capitals

Leilani Mitchell                Dandenong Rangers

Mia Newley                     Townsville Fire

Erin Phillips                    Indiana Fever (WNBA)

Jennifer Screen              Adelaide Lightning

Stephanie Talbot            Adelaide Lightning

Penny Taylor                  Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)

Kristen Veal                   Logan Thunder

Kelly Wilson                   Bendigo Spirit

Hanna Zavecz                Logan Thunder

Injured players attending

Lauren Jackson             Canberra Capitals

Rachel Jarry                  Melbourne Boomers

Gabrielle Richards          Bendigo Spirit

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