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Aussie basketball women eye US upset in Rio

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Three-time Olympic medallist Suzy Batkovic was on Tuesday left out of Australia's woman's basketball squad for the Olympic Games
Three-time Olympic medallist Suzy Batkovic was on Tuesday left out of Australia’s woman’s basketball squad for the Olympic Games

Three-time Olympic medallist Suzy Batkovic was on Tuesday left out of Australia’s woman’s basketball squad for the Olympic Games as the Opals look to make the podium for a sixth successive time in Rio de Janeiro.

The 35-year-old, a team regular for over a decade, was one of three players to miss the cut in coach Brendan Joyce’s final roster alongside Tess Madgen and Rebecca Allen.

They were already without star centre Lauren Jackson, who retired in March because of injury after an almost 20-year international career.

The world number two Australians have won either silver or bronze at every Olympics dating back to Atlanta in 1996, with the irrepressible US team their long-time nemesis.

Laura Hodges, Elizabeth Cambage and Rachel Jarry return from the London 2012 line-up that won bronze, while Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor make their return to Olympic competition.

They are joined by Olympic debutants Marianna Tolo, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Natalie Burton, Tessa Lavey, Leilani Mitchell, Stephanie Talbot and Cayla George.

Rio will be Taylor’s third Games after missing London with injury, and she believes that the strength, determination and focus of the current side will give them every chance of upsetting the Americans.

“Gold is always the goal at an Olympic Games but we know there is a long way to getting the chance to play for that gold medal,” she said.

“We have a strong team and a very similar team to what we had at the 2014 World Championships and I think Brendan has done a wonderful job implementing a system that we love being a part of.

“We play Brazil first up and playing the home side in the first game is always going to be a huge challenge in itself.”

The Opals wrap up a camp on Australia’s Gold Coast shortly before heading to America for warm-up matches against the USA, Canada and France.

Source by: AFP

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