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Lauren Jackson named in Australian Opals FIBA Women’s basketball World Cup squad, comeback, schedule, draw, tickets

Australian basketball great Lauren Jackson shed tears of joy this week after being named in the Opals squad for the upcoming FIBA ​​World Cup after nine years away from international hoops.

Basketball Australia confirmed on Wednesday that 41-year-old Jackson has been named in the Opals’ 12-man squad, who will be hoping to go one better on home soil at this year’s World Cup after winning their silver medal in 2018.

Opals coach Sandy Brondello broke the news to Jackson via video call.

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Lauren Jackson named in World Cup squad | 00:55

“Congratulations, Lauren Jackson, you’re going to another World Cup,” Brondello said.

“You should be incredibly proud Lauren, and I’m incredibly proud because what you’ve done to achieve this is amazing. It shows a lot about you as a person and your hard work and dedication.

Jackson, a four-time Olympic medalist and three-time WNBA MVP with a two-decade career that dominated the world, was forced to retire in March 2016 due to a series of knee injuries.

In the year In a 2018 Fox Sports documentary, Jackson revealed that she experienced “tremors” when she came off the prescription drug she relied on for her playing career and her struggles with the lack of support in basketball. Fraternity in retirement.

But Jackson revealed she has resumed training with a view to suiting up for local team Albury-Wodonga Gang.

Four years later, she returned to the green and gold.

“Wow, I don’t know what to say…thank you,” a speechless and tearful Jackson told Brondello.

Jackson moved into basketball administration after her playing career, working for WNBL club Melbourne Boomers before heading to Basketball Australia to run the league and oversee women’s hoops around the country.

After featuring for Albury-Wondonga in the recent NBL1 season, Jackson earned a call-up to the Australian team’s camp in June before impressing in the Opals’ practice matches in New York last month.

Lauren Jackson is back for the 2022 FIBA ​​Women's Basketball World Cup at Sydney Olympic Park.  Picture: David Swift
Lauren Jackson is back for the 2022 FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup at Sydney Olympic Park. Picture: David SwiftSource: News Corp Australia

Jackson will play a vital role for the Opals, who have been looking for strong post players for the World Cup amid the Liz Cambage controversy over her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic squad last year – since the controversy has seen her play for Australia.

In a statement, Jackson was proud of her achievement, but said she was determined to help the Opals finish on the World Cup podium.

“I’ve been working my body really hard, and I honestly didn’t know if it would keep up with my intense training regime, but it has and I’m feeling great,” she said.

“All the members of the team have welcomed me and made me feel at home, once I get to the court the age difference disappears. I believe in this team and what we can do, if I can play a role, if we get on stage, all the hard work will be worth it.

Joining Jackson in the squad are regular Opals Bec Allen, Kayla George, Mariana Tolo, Steph Talbot, Sammy Whitcomb, Tess Madgen and young star Izzy McGegor.

Two WNBA legends: Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird. Picture: Steph ChambersSource: Getty Images

Coming off an impressive WNBA campaign with the Atlanta Dream, WNBL MVP Annelie Maley and All-Star guard Christy Wallace will make their World Cup debuts along with Sara Blicavs and Darcy Garbin.

The Opals have enjoyed success in recent World Cups, winning silver in 2018, bronze in 2014 and gold in 2006.

The Opals, ranked third in the world, have been drawn in Group C with France, Serbia, Japan, Mali and Canada in the pool.

The World Cup will be held in Sydney on September 22.

Australian Opals 2022 FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup Team: Bec Allen, Sarah Blicavs, Darcy Garbin, Kayla George, Lauren Jackson, Izzy McGegor, Tess Madgen, Annelie Malley, Steph Talbot, Mariana Tolo, Christy Wallace, Sammy Whitcomb.

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