Swinburne Kilsyth Lady Cobra star Abby Bishop has been named in the Jayco Opals team annouced for the series against China this July, she will be joined former Kilsyth junior Jess Bibby. For the full story read the story courtesy of Basketball Australia. Keep checking back to www.kilsythbasketball.com.au to stay up to date as the Opals tackle China!!

Jayco Opals team announced for series against China (courtesy of Basketball Australia)

Basketball Australia has today announced the Australian Jayco Opals team to meet the Chinese women’s national basketball team in their three-game series played exclusively in Queensland later this month.

The team is headlined by two-time Olympic Silver Medallist Suzy Batkovic; along with 2010 FIBA World Championship team members Abby Bishop and Marianna Tolo, who will provide key international experience.

Head Coach Carrie Graf’s team also includes an exciting balance of youth and veteran leadership, including veteran Australian based players such as Jessica Bibby of the Canberra Capitals and the team’s youngest player Tess Madgen of the Bendigo Spirit.

“This is certainly an emerging talent group, but there is also a great deal of experience in this list, and great depth particularly at the post,” said Coach Graf. 

“Players like Abby Bishop and Marianna Tolo, both members of our 2010 World Championship team, will be looking to continue their great form, and Elyse Penaluna is another talented tall who has performed well in camp and on tour recently,” she said. 

“Then you add a big with the experience and skill-level of dual Olympian Suzy Batkovic and we feel confident that we have the size to give the fans in Queensland a good showing against China,” she said.

Three stars of Queensland’s Women’s National Basketball League teams are set to play a key role for the Jayco Opals, with defensive specialist and Townsville Fire guard Rachael Flanagan joining point-guard Kristen Veal and centre Cayla Francis of the Logan Thunder.  

The Queensland connection continues with Mackay, Queensland, product Marianna Tolo also keen put on a show in her home-state.

According to Graf, the Chinese side boast a number of sharp-shooters from beyond the arc, and are quick movers around the perimeter. Not only that, they will bring a great deal of size down low, headlined by Chen Nan who is a star post-player for China, who played in the WNBA last year.     

 Add to that We-Wei at 206cm, and the Jayco Opals’ big’s will certainly have their work cut out for them.

“China is one of the leading teams in Asia,” said Graf. They finished in the top four at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and we lost to them twice on our recent China tour, so we’re certainly looking to turn that around on home soil,” she said.  

The Jayco Australian Opals will face-off against China on 24 July in Logan, on the 28 July in Townsville and then in Cairns on the 30 July to wrap the series, in what is the first time an international basketball series has been hosted solely in Queensland.

The series will serve as perfect preparation for September’s FIBA Oceania Series between the Jayco Opals and the New Zealand Tall Ferns, the winner of which will gain direct entry into the 2012 London Olympics.  

“This is extremely important preparation for FIBA Oceania Qualifiers in September,” said Graf. “The players from this series against China will be vying for spots for Oceania,” she said.

While in Logan and Townsville, the Chinese team will also line up against a local South Queensland All-star team (25 July) and North Queensland All-star team (27 July), giving them five exciting contests before they return home at the end of July.

Australian Jayco Opals Team for China Series in QLD

Suzy BATKOVIC / Centre / 192cm / 17.12.1980

Abby BISHOP / Forward/Centre / 189cm / 29.11.1988

Jessica BIBBY / Guard / 169cm / 23.08.1979 

Stephanie CUMMING / Guard / 178cm / 26.07.1990

Cayla FRANCIS / Centre / 192cm / 01.05.1989

Rachael FLANAGAN / Guard / 170cm / 05.04.1982

Tess MADGEN / Guard/Forward / 180cm / 12.08.1990

Elyse PENALUNA / Forward/Centre / 193cm / 23.04.1988

Marianna TOLO / Centre / 196cm / 02.07.1989

Kristen VEAL / Guard / 176cm / 24.07.1981

Carly WILSON / Guard / 181cm / 08.07.1982

Hanna ZAVECZ / Guard/Forward / 183cm / 21.08.1985                     

Head Coach – Carrie Graf

Assistant Coaches – Peter Buckle, Phil Brown

Physiotherapists – Rachel McAlister

Manager – Renae Maycock

Media Manager – Davin Sgargetta  

Jayco Australian Opals V China Schedule:


Australian Jayco Opals vs China – Logan Metro Indoor Sports  Centre, July 24, 2011, 5pm. Tickets: (07) 3388 0674.

July 25: South Queensland All-Stars vs China  


July 27: North Queensland All-Stars vs China

Australian Jayco Opals vs China – Townsville RSL Stadium, July 28, 2011, 7pm Tickets: Ticketshop  


Australian Jayco Opals vs China – Bendigo Bank Stadium, Cairns, July 30, 2011, 7pm. Tickets: (07) 4041 2145