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Phillips misses out on Opals for London
Guy Hand
16:15 AEST Fri Jun 22 2012

Opals coach Carrie Graf is confident with her Olympic Games squad, despite the surprise omission of long-time guard Erin Phillips.

United States-based star Phillips missed out on the 12-player squad named on Friday for the Australian women's basketball team's tilt at a fifth successive Olympic medal.

She had been a member of the Beijing Olympic team and 2006 world championship-winning side.

But Indiana Fever guard Phillips had not been part of the full three-month Opals build-up to the Games, staying with her WNBA club and only linking up with Australia on their recent European tour.

Even then, the 27-year-old was still expected to win a spot.

"Every Opals team that's selected has different needs and different dynamics, and we felt with this group need to go with quarterback point guards," Graf told AAP of Phillips' omission.

"It was tough. Erin was part of the last world championship team, the last Olympic team. But with the short time we had together, it wasn't the fit.

"It was a really hard decision, and unfortunately for Erin, it wasn't the time for her."

The Opals are also without injured superstar Penny Taylor, but still boast a quality squad headed by Lauren Jackson and rising star Liz Cambage.

Skipper Jackson will lead the Opals to her fourth Olympics, believing the team is the best prepared in her time with the national team set-up after the painstaking build-up.

With Phillips overlooked, veteran Kristi Harrower and fellow WNBL stars Kathleen Macleod and Sam Richards are set to share guard duties.

Like Jackson, 37-year-old Harrower is bound for her fourth Olympics after overcoming knee and Achilles problems to reach full fitness.

The Opals' credentials will be tested immediately in a three-match series against Brazil - one of their London group opponents - starting at Melbourne's Hisense Arena on Sunday.

The teams will also clash on Tuesday in Bendigo and Victoria's State Basketball Centre in Knox on Thursday.

Opals squad for Olympic Games: Lauren Jackson, Kristi Harrower, Belinda Snell, Jennifer Screen, Sam Richards, Rachel Jarry, Liz Cambage, Kathleen Macleod, Jenna O'Hea, Abby Bishop, Suzy Batkovic, Laura Hodges.

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