Spirit stars named in Opals training squad

BENDIGO Spirit quartet Kelly Wilson, Gabe Richards, Elyse Penaluna and Tessa Lavey have been named in a 21-player squad for the Australian Opals training camp in Canberra next month.

Wilson retains her spot in the squad on the back of her strong performance with the Opals in this year's Oceania Championship series against New Zealand.

Richards and Penaluna have been rewarded for their strong performances with the Spirit.

Despite playing limited minutes with the Spirit, Lavey was named in the squad thanks to her standout performances on this year's European tour with an under-age Australian squad.

All nine WNBL clubs are represented in the squad.

Opals coach Brendan Joyce said he is looking forward to working with the WNBL’s best at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence next month.

“This camp is a great opportunity for these younger players and players on the fringe of the Opals program to come in a get the chance to impress and put their names up for consideration,” Joyce said.

“The camp gives us the opportunity to introduce our style of play and expose players to what the Opals are about from a strategic and cultural point of view.”

Joyce said the emergence of the likes of Kelly Wilson should provide players on the fringes with added confidence and desire.

“When we brought in Kelly Wilson, who hadn’t played for Australia since the 2007 World University Games, it created a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm in the group and depth,” Joyce said.

“The addition of new players created healthy competition within the team and that helps create an environment where everyone is pushing each other to improve.”

Opals training squad:

Natalie Hurst                  Canberra Capitals

Leilani Mitchell               Dandenong Rangers

Tessa Lavey                  Bendigo Spirit

Jennifer Screen             Adelaide Lightning

Kelly Wilson                   Bendigo Spirit

Tess Madgen                 Melbourne Boomers

Stephanie Cummings   Townsville Fire

Jess Foley                     Adelaide Lightning

Katie-Rae Ebzery          Sydney Uni Flames

Rachel Jarry                  Melbourne Boomers

Rebecca Allen               Melbourne Boomers

Alice Kunek                    Dandenong Rangers

Hanna Zavecz               Logan Thunder

Mia Newley                    Townsville Fire

Laura Hodges                Adelaide Lightning

Abby Bishop                  Canberra Capitals

Elyse Penaluna             Bendigo Spirit

Carley Mijovic                Canberra Capitals

Lauren Scherf                Dandenong Rangers

Natalie Burton                West Coast Waves

Gabrielle Richards        Bendigo Spirit

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