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Opals name squad for tour of US

30 April 2014

BASKETBALL: Australia coach Brendan Joyce has named a 12-player squad minus his WNBA stars for a pre-World Championship tour of the United States.

With the likes of Erin Phillips, Penny Taylor, Rachel Jarry, Liz Cambage and Leilani Mitchell unavailable because of a new WNBA collective bargaining agreement, a group of youngsters, Olympians and WNBL stars will aim to secure a spot on the Opals squad for the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

"For the likes of Rebecca Allen, Natalie Burton, Carley Mijovic, Alex Bunton, Alice Kunek and Tess Madgen the opportunity to be a part of this tour and be exposed to WNBA-calibre opposition will without question accelerate their development," Joyce said.

The Opals fly out on Wednesday for scrimmages with the Seattle Storm, Minnesota Lynx, Atlanta Dream and San Antonio Silver Stars WNBA sides.

Laura Hodges and Jenni Screen, with a total five Olympic and three World Championship appearances between them, are also in the squad alongside seven-time WNBL Champion Natalie Hurst, Townsville Fire captain Rachael McCully, and Bendigo Spirit's Gabrielle Richards and Kelly Wilson.

Cambage and Mitchell will forgo their WNBA commitments for the 2014 season to stay in Australia and prepare for the World Championship, which runs from September 27 to October 5.


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