Follow FIBA on Facebook

13 Erin PHILLIPS (Australia)
to read

Blicavs and Bishop cut from Opals preliminary squad, WNBA trio to join in July

MELBOURNE (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - Both Sara Blicavs and Abby Bishop have been cut from Australia's preliminary squad for the Rio Olympics, Basketball Australia announced on Wednesday.

The Opals squad is now down to 12 with three WNBA players - Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips and Rebecca Allen - expected to join the team after 23 July, when the WNBA takes a break for the Olympics.

Australia 15-player preliminary roster for Rio 2016 Olympic Games 
Rebecca Allen Suzy Batkovic Natalie Burton Elizabeth Cambage
Katie Rae Ebzery Cayla George Laura Hodges Rachel Jarry
Tessa Lavey Tess Madgen  Leilani Mitchell Erin Phillips
Stephanie Talbot Penny Taylor Marianna Tolo  

Although head coach Brendan Joyce won't announce the final roster until August, he admits the difficulty of naming the 12 players to take to Rio.

From the final squad of 15, any of those players deserve to go, so it’s going to be a very tough choice for us to make. - Joyce

"As we move through the process, we have had to make tough decisions already and Sara and Abby will still be in contention should an unexpected injury arise," Joyce said.

Bishop has battled injuries in the past year but was performing well with the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL season. 

"I want to personally thank them for their contribution that they have made to the team throughout the selection process," Joyce added. "From the final squad of 15, any of those players deserve to go so it’s going to be a very tough choice for us to make."

The Opals will travel to the Gold Coast for their final selection camp on 5 July.

Joyce's team will travel to the United States on 28 July for three lead-up games against Canada, France, and the reigning World and Olympics champions USA.

Although Australia have won eight of their 11 games on tour to Japan and Europe, Joyce insists there is still room for improvement.

"The final team that is selected will have three very tough games in the USA before we get to Brazil," he noted.

In Rio, the Opals will play in Group A alongside France, Japan, Brazil, Belarus and Turkey.