Years ago

Opals Tour of Japan

So officially, according to BA, the Opals Squad in contention for Rio looks like this:

Team to Tour Japan
- Rebecca Allen
- Suzy Batkovic
- Sara Blicavs
- Natalie Burton
- Elizabeth Cambage
- Katie-Rae Ebzery
- Cayla George
- Rachel Jarry
- Tessa Lavey
- Tess Madgen
- Leilani Mitchell
- Stephanie Talbot

... plus the list of "Injured/unavailable"
- Abby Bishop (injured)
- Marianna Tolo (injured)
- Laura Hodges (unavailable) (France)
- Erin Phillips (unavailable) (WNBA)
- Penny Taylor (unavailable) (WNBA)

Odd that Bishop is supposedly too injured to play Japan in 2 weeks, yet is already participating in pre-season camp in Seattle:

Topic #39307 | Report this topic

Years ago

More than likely..
Joyce's pick.


Reply #585949 | Report this post

Years ago

Some of the comments I found interesting:

Joyce said 2014 FIBA World Cup starting centre Marianna Tolo, who is recovering from an ACL tear, and 2015 WNBL MVP Abby Bishop, also were not considered for the Japan tour, a further trip to Europe still in the team's preparation.
"Tolo was unavailable due to injury and so was Bish (Bishop) who had some hamstring and DVT issues," Joyce said.
“Abby is now trying to make Seattle’s (WNBA) team so we’ll see how that evolves.”

^ Strange approach IMO given the way he has handled other fringe players with WNBA connections.

About Kelsey Griffin:

"Leilani has been a big part of the Opals’ program for three years, so in Kelsey’s case, we weren’t going to drag her through these camps when we see her more a part of our program post-Olympics," Joyce said.
"Kelsey is a four in the WNBL (power forward) and a three (small forward) internationally and we can see her making that jump."

About Kunek:

Kunek is an under-sized four at the next level and now has time to work on her game ahead of the next World Championship.

^ that one was not in quotes so I'm guessing they were Boti's words rather than Joyce's? Whoever's words they were, I can't agree that Alice is ideally a 4 even in the WNBL, let alone at the next level. Her game is too perimeter-oriented to be a PF IMO, particularly at the next level, where size, strength and rebounding ability is even less likely to see her suited to that spot.

Reply #585950 | Report this post

Years ago

I think they were referring to Blicavs as a 4.

Reply #585957 | Report this post

Years ago

Kelsey is a 4 at WNBL and WNBA level although a 3 at international level....

Why? Because Brendan Joyce said so.

Seems weird that he hasn't said Bishop is cut. Its pretty clear that she is. Wonder if he is being careful after the backlash he experienced last time she was excluded.

Playing the media game, and keeping guys like Boti onside seems to be his main skill in this role.

Reply #585960 | Report this post

Years ago

Is there something going on behind the scenes?
Some of the choices being made are Mind boggling.
If burton makes the squad, she will kick out 1 of hodges, George, tolo or batkovic.
Makes no sense...
Penaluna and bishop are not even getting a go. Bs!

Reply #585963 | Report this post

Years ago

Opals not the only ones seeing some interesting selections.
Candace Parker got left out of the Team USA 12.

(the difference of course being that unlike us, they have the luxury of making a shock omission like that without any effect on their tournament result)

Reply #585970 | Report this post

Years ago

I'm thinking...

Della Donne/Charles/Stewart

Reply #585971 | Report this post

Years ago

Official team is named tomorrow, but the unofficial word is

Delle Donne

A ridiculously stacked team with or without Parker (though getting a little long in the tooth in the backcourt)

Reply #585972 | Report this post

Years ago

5'9 Bird/5'9 Whalen
6'0 Taurasi/6'1 mcoughtry/6'0 Augustus
6'1 Moore/6'1 catchings
6'5 Della Donne/6'4 Stewart/6'4 Charles
6'8 Griner/6'6 Fowles


(Joyce's team most likely)
5'8 Phillips/5'5 Mitchell
6'1 Taylor/6'1 Allen/5'7 Lavey
6'1 Jarry/6'2 Talbot
6'3 Hodges/6'4 Burton/6'5 Tolo
6'8 Cambage/6'5 Batkovic

Reply #585973 | Report this post

Years ago

Huge win for the Opals with Parker being omitted. We struggle most with the 4 spot.

Phillips, Mitchell, Taylor and Allen match up pretty well with Team USA. Whalen is past it, Bird still has a little to offer. Their best point guard is Diggins but coming off an ACL so not considered.

A lot will depend on how well Talbot can lock down on the likes of Maya Moore. I think she can do well.

Cambage can easily hold down the 5 spot. Tolo a decent back up at either 4 or 5. I'm still thinking Cayla George will make the squad as she can spread the floor with outside shooting.

It's out of Batkovic and Hodges for the final spot as there is no way Burton is missing. She is favourite, although like every Opals supporter not sure why?

Reply #585982 | Report this post

Years ago

Stewart is probably better than Parker now in most areas.

Reply #585984 | Report this post

Years ago

I just hate that Kelsey was cut so early, I think she should be playing in Rio, her toughness and offensive rebounding could have been so valuable. Surely she has more to offer than Hodges, Burton and Bishop.

Reply #585992 | Report this post

Years ago

It's purely because we can't have both her and Leilani Andy.

3-4 spot is decently safe, we need guard hence Mitchell's choice gets a bit more of a push.

Don't worry, I would have liked to have seen her go to Japan at least and even Europe to try out further myself. But Joyce sees her for the next WC's and Olympics it seems.

Otherwise I agree with you.

Reply #585996 | Report this post

Years ago

Mansfield would have been just as good Imo.
And I'd prefer ebzery as a combo guard over lavey.

Reply #585997 | Report this post

Years ago

If Mansfield's 2015/16 WNBL season had happened a season earlier then this Opals team could have had quite a different look, but the fact that she only took the big leap now combined with the really unfortunately-timed injury at the end of the season was always going to make it big ask for Rio.

Agree with you about Ebzery. She'd be in my 12. Very well rounded player.

Reply #585998 | Report this post

Years ago

I have no idea why Maester Brendan Joyce is commentating on Team USA selection matters.

Sounds like if we play them we could be going up against a fired up Elena Delle Donne which is not ideal.

Reply #586015 | Report this post

Years ago

I assume that Joyce is commenting because he was asked about it. It has been a pretty hot topic in the women's basketball sphere. I don't feel like what he said was inappropriate.
If anyone is fired up over it all I think it will be Candace Parker in the upcoming WNBA season.
Lowering the rims seems to be what floats Elena's boat lately and it seems to be her & Geno vs the rest of the world on that one.

USA officially named their 12 and it is as per the list above.

One matchup headache is left out of their team, making way for a different matchup headache to take her place.

Reply #586025 | Report this post

Years ago

Who did Parker upset? Unbelievable. 5 University of Connecticut players, 4 Minnesota Lynx players. Things that make you go hmmm.

That USA perimeter is perhaps the slowest I've ever seen, and one of their weakest defensively as well. I feel ok with our chances lining up against that. If you can stretch Griner away from the rim there are opportunities against them defensively.

Reply #586033 | Report this post

Years ago

nepotism at its finest LOL

Reply #586037 | Report this post

Years ago

The fear of Nat Burton kept Parker off the USA national team.

'She was also told she "didn't match up well with Australia." Parker was said to be floored by the reasoning.'

Reply #586381 | Report this post

Years ago

This is the real reason

"Others close to Parker have downplayed the brand loyalty in play, calling it "only a small factor," and feel Coach Auriemma simply wanted to select rookie Brianna Stewart in Parker's place. Stewart is the WNBA’s latest top overall pick, and fresh off of starring for Auriemma at UCONN, where she led his most recent Huskies dynasty to four straight titles."

Seems it's the same all over the world, coaches play favourites even if it's potentially to the detriment of the team.
Joyce has Burton and Lavey

Their is no substitute for the experience a player like Parker brings, but coaches who are blinded by their adoration of individual players or their dislike of another for personal reasons don't care about that.

Reply #586386 | Report this post

Years ago

Embarrassing lack of coverage of the Japan-Opals series so far from Basketball Australia :/

Reply #586760 | Report this post

Years ago

... but for anyone interested in our 80-41 win, it looks like:

*Mitchell 5p, 3r, 4a, 2s in 23:34
*Jarry 5p, 4r, 3a in 17:55
*Talbot 8p, 8r, 3a in 28:36
*Burton 6p, 3r, 3a in 26:44
*Cambage 17p, 7r, 2a in 19:39

Lavey 5p, 4r, 3a in 17:36
Allen 4p, 5r, 2s in 14:15
Batkovic 9p, 6r in 12:56
Ebzery 13p, 2r in 23:16
George 8p, 5r in 15:29

Madgen, Blicavs DNP.

Reply #586762 | Report this post

Years ago

Seems like a bit of a waste of time having Mitchell, Allen, George, etc playing in games like this against SEABL level competition instead of playing in the wnba against the best in the world.

Reply #586763 | Report this post

Years ago

Blicavs didn't play because she didn't travel with the team. She was unable to complete the previous Opals camp due to injury, and it was surprising to see her named in this squad for the games against Japan because she is still on the sidelines.

While she has been suiting up for Geelong over the past few weeks, watching footage of the pre-game warm up from last nights match is the first time she seems to have actually joined in. And according to an injury update video on Geelong Supercats facebook page, she is hoping to be jog by the end of this week (I think that may have related to last week), and aiming to return to training & playing within a week or 2. So she hasn't even joined in training over the past month - doesn't sound like she was ever a realistic option for this tour with the Opals if she can't even hit the court at SEABL level.

Reply #586782 | Report this post


Reply to this topic

Random name suggestion for anonymous posters: Ariel 28

Rules:You must read the Terms of Use. No spam, no offensive material, no sniping at other clubs, no 'who cares?'-type comments, no naming or bashing under 18 players. Learn how to embed YouTube videos or tweets

Please proof-read your post before submitting as you will not be able to edit it afterwards.

Close ads
PickStar - The best place to book sports stars
Punch - insightful time tracking - Custom basketball uniforms

Advertise on Hoops to a very focused, local and sports-keen audience. Email for rates and options.

Recent Posts

Invoicing clients? Stay productive with Punch, the insightful time tracker that earns you more.

Special offer: $30/month Pay $100 for lifetime access. Sign up now!


An Australian basketball forum covering NBL, WNBL, ABL, Juniors plus NBA, WNBA, NZ, Europe, etc | Forum time is: 3:34 am, Thu 27 Feb 2020 | Posts: 822,711 | Last 7 days: 946