Seven Consulting Opals Reveal WNBL Star-Studded 20-Player Squad

December 12, 2023 | WNBL news

Written by Corey Kennedy

Basketball Australia has today announced a 20-player squad ahead of February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament where the Seven Consulting Opals will look to punch their ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

A 12-player team will be picked from the extended squad for the Group A tournament in Belem, Brazil where Australia will play the host nation, Germany and Serbia from February 8 to 11.

Of the 20 players in the squad, 14 currently are playing in the Cygnett WNBL (with 7 of the 8 clubs represented) highlighting the world-class talent in the league at the moment.

Opals mainstays and Flames duo, Tess Madgen coming off WNBL game 250, and Cayla George fresh off becoming the all-time WNBL rebounds leader, headline the squad.

Lauren Jackson has been named in the squad after her history making come back at World Championships and as she continues her return to form for the Flyers.

Townsville’s star foursome Zitina Aokuso, Steph Reid, Sami Whitcomb, and Alice Kunek have all been rewarded for their and their team’s terrific start to the season.

Two of the WNBL’s brightest young stars Jade Melbourne and Isobel Borlase are also in the squad. Melbourne is averaging 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists on the season as she continues to improve in just her fourth season.

Borlase has been selected in a senior national squad for the first time in her career, and at just 19-years-old is shining for the Lightning this season with three twenty-point + games.

“To be recognised amongst all these phenomenal players is pretty special and I’m going to do everything I can to try and put my best foot forward.” Borlase said.

Maddi Rocci has continued her stellar form after representing the Opals at the Asia Cup helping the Flyers to three straight wins and 5-2 on the season.

Like Rocci, Anneli Maley (averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds a game) continues to showcase her potential on both ends of the court night in, and night out.

Sara Blicavs has started brilliantly for the Boomers averaging 13 points and 4 rebounds a game leading Melbourne to a 6-1 record.

Steph Talbot and Kristy Wallace have been selected in the squad as they both return from injuries as they ramp up their preparation for the push towards Paris.

In a further testament to the quality of the league, the three assistant coaches to Sandy Brondello are current WNBL coaches.

Congratulations to all the players on the selection in the squad, and make sure to tune into the Cygnett WNBL to see them in action.

Seven Consulting Opals Squad

Rebecca Allen

Zitina Aokuso (Townsville Fire)

Sara Blicavs (Melbourne Boomers)

Isobel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning)

Darcee Garbin

Cayla George (Sydney Flames)

Shyla Heal

*Lauren Jackson (Southside Flyers)

*Alice Kunek (Townsville Fire)

Tess Madgen (Sydney Flames)

Ezi Magbegor

Anneli Maley (Perth Lynx)

Jade Melbourne (UC Capitals)

Stephanie Reid (Townsville Fire)

Maddison Rocci (Southside Flyers)

Alanna Smith

*Stephanie Talbot

Marianna Tolo

*Kristy Wallace (Melbourne Boomers)

Samantha Whitcomb (Townsville Fire)

*subject to fitness

Head Coach: Sandy Brondello

Assistant Coach: Cheryl Chambers (Southside Flyers)

Assistant Coach: Paul Goriss (UC Capitals)

Assistant Coach: Shannon Seebohm (Townsville Fire)