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Opals look to shine against China
19:11 AEST Fri Jul 31 2009
Rohanee Cox
Women's NBL MVP Rohanee Cox and other Olympians will head up the Opals side to face China.

Women's National Basketball League MVP Rohanee Cox and fellow Olympians Emma Randall, Hollie Grima and Alicia Poto head-up an Opals team shy of its WNBA stars for a three-match series against China next month.

The Olympic silver medallists and reigning world champions will take on China in Canberra, Geelong and Dandenong on August 11, 17 and 21 respectively.

Natalie Hurst, Elyse Penaluna and Liz Cambage, who all debuted for the Opals against China in May, have garnered re-selection.

But missing are the likes of Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor who are playing in the WNBA.

"There's no question that this is a critical part of our preparation for the World Championships and to get us ready for New Zealand," coach Carrie Graf said.

"We have a good chunk of Olympians and we're on home soil so we're looking to avenge our 2-1 series loss in China in May."

A team of 12 athletes will be selected at the conclusion of the three game series to contest the 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship against New Zealand on August 31 (Wellington) and September 2 (Canberra).

Australia's performance at that event determines qualification for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for women.

China, who finished fourth in Beijing, are preparing for the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship and will also contest friendly matches on tour against three WNBL teams: Bendigo Spirit, Dandenong Rangers and Bulleen Boomers.

Australian squad: Eva Afeaki, Elizabeth Cambage, Rohanee Cox, Jess Foley, Hollie Grima, Cayla Francis, Natalie Hurst, Jenna Ohea, Elyse Penaluna, Alicia Poto Emma Randall Jenni Screen, Deanna Smith, Marianna Tolo, Carly Wilson.