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Cambage, Kunek in Opals Olympic camp squad

  • Cambage, Kunek in Opals Olympic camp squad

    Liz Cambage has been included in a 27-player Opals squad for an Olympic selection camp next month.

Liz Cambage and Alice Kunek have both been included in an initial Opals squad ahead of next month's first Olympic selection camp in Canberra.

The pair were part of a 27-player group, alongside veterans Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips and Marianna Tolo.

Cambage publicly criticised Kunek earlier this week for posting a photo of herself on social media dressed in `blackface' as rapper Kanye West.

It sparked a public stoush between Cambage's manager, who wrote an opinion piece on the matter, and Basketball Australia's CEO Anthony Moore.

The squad will be cut back to 20 before the start of the first of four camps on March 29 in the nation's capital, where it's hoped any team issues arising from the Cambage-Kunek drama will be resolved.

Jackson, meanwhile, is intent on making the camp as she continues rehabilitation on an ongoing knee injury.

The four-time Olympic medallist has given herself until March to decide if she'll make herself available for the Rio Games, which begin in August.

Tolo returns to the squad having missed last year's Oceania Olympic qualifiers with a knee injury suffered in the 2015 WNBA season.

Taylor and Cambage both rejoin following stints in China, while Erin Phillips continues her recovery from a knee problem before returning to the US.

Coach Brendan Joyce has also named first-timers Lauren Mansfield and Kelsey Griffin.

A majority of Australia's bronze medal-winning team from the 2014 world championships are in the squad, as Joyce looks for continuity in the hunt for the elusive Olympic gold.

"We will utilise these camps to maintain and continue to develop the team chemistry we had at the 2014 world championships and transfer that into 2016," he said on Thursday.

"We have included bigger squads in the past but this year we wanted to start with a tighter squad to develop cohesion."

As well as on-court work, the camps will include sessions with a sports psychologist to help advise the Opals on the challenges and distractions of playing at a big event.

After Canberra, the Opals will head to Gosford in late April, back to the ACT in June, and then on to the Gold Coast in early July.

The women's Olympic basketball competition in Rio starts on August 6.

Opals camp squad: Rebecca Allen (SEQ Stars), Suzy Batkovic (Townsville Fire), Sara Blicavs (Dandenong Rangers), Abby Bishop (University of Canberra Capitals), Natalie Burton (Perth Lynx), Elizabeth Cambage (Shanghai), Stephanie Cumming (Dandenong Rangers), Katie-Rae Ebzery (Sydney Uni Flames), Cayla George (Townsville Fire), Madeleine Garrick (Melbourne Boomers), Kelsey Griffin (Bendigo Spirit), Laura Hodges (Bourges, France), Lauren Jackson (Canberra Capitals), Rachel Jarry (SEQ Stars), Alice Kunek (Melbourne Boomers), Tessa Lavey (Perth Lynx), Tess Madgen (Melbourne Boomers), Lauren Mansfield (SEQ Stars), Carley Mijovic (Perth Lynx), Leilani Mitchell (Adelaide Lightning), Erin Phillips (LA Sparks), Elyse Penaluna (Melbourne Boomers), Belinda Snell (Bendigo Spirit), Stephanie Talbot (Canberra Capitals), Penny Taylor (Phoenix Mercury), Marianna Tolo, Kelly Wilson (Bendigo Spirit)

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