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Tolo headlines final Opals roster as legend Taylor joins coaching staff
CANBERRA (FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2017) - Marianna Tolo is set to lead Australia at the FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2017 after the Opals also revealed that the legendary Penny Taylor will join the coaching staff.
The center is one of four returning members of the Rio Olympics team, with Tessa Lavey, Katie Ebzery and Laura Hodges also included.
|Australia 12-player roster for FIBA Women's Asia Cup 2017|
|Abby Bishop||Sara Blicavs||Stephanie Blicavs||Alex Bunton|
|Katie-Rae Ebzery||Maddie Garrick||Kelsey Griffin||Laura Hodges|
|Tessa Lavey||Lauren Mansfield||Belinda Snell||Marianna Tolo|
There is also further experience in three-time Olympic medallist Belinda Snell and London bronze medallist Abby Bishop.
With play-caller Sandy Brondello unable to hold the coaching reins due to her WNBA commitments, she has added Taylor to the coaching team in the wake of her retirement after Rio last year.
Taylor will join Paul Goriss and Cheryl Chambers, while there is also space for Olaf Lange of UMMC Ekaterinburg - the husband of Brondello, who has been coaching in EuroLeague Women with his spouse as an assistant.
"I am excited to formally announce the addition of Penny Taylor and Olaf Lange," said Brondello. "Penny and Olaf bring diverse knowledge, experience and teaching skills which the players can draw upon and the players have shown they are keen to learn from all of our coaching team.
"Penny is one of the most respected Opals of all time. She has delivered an incredible legacy as a player and now, having been working with me at the Mercury as an assistant, she has an intimate knowledge of my system that the players can tap into.
"Olaf is globally respected throughout Europe and the US and he also coached Logan in the WNBL for two seasons before accepting prestigious offers in Europe. His knowledge of my system is a valuable tool to the players and members of the coaching staff in aiding its application."
Taylor and Lange were both excited about the opportunity to be involved in the Opals' first foray into the FIBA Asia Cup later this month.
"I couldn't be more thrilled to continue my journey with the Opals," said Taylor. "I look forward to being a part of an extremely impressive coaching staff with worldwide experience and knowledge of the game. Helping the players have an enjoyable, fulfilling and successful experience as an Opal is my top priority."
"I am thrilled and honoured to be joining the prestigious Opals program as an assistant coach," said Lange. "I have always admired Australian basketball for its ability to produce talent and I couldn't be more pleased about the opportunity to coach these outstanding female athletes and to work alongside some of the best coaches in the women’s game."
Australia will play in Group B where they will go up against Korea, Philippines and Japan during the opening phase.