Rush recruit Steph Cumming named in preliminary Opals' squad

BALLARAT Rush recruit Steph Cumming has today been named in Australian Opals' extended squad for this year's FIBA World Championship for Women.

The Opals unveiled a 33-player squad from which the final basketball team will be selected to play in Turkey in September/October.

Cumming and last season's Rush import Alice Kunek make the training list after winning bronze with the Emerging Opals at the 2013 World University Games in Russia.

Olympian and former Ballarat Lady Miner Rachel Jarry, a Women's National Basketball Association championship player with Minnesota Lynx, is also in contention.

Fellow Olympians Lauren Jackson, Liz Cambage, Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor are also included in the squad.

Opals head coach Brendan Joyce, a Ballarat Miners' championship coach, said the squad had a mix of experience and emerging young talent leading into the world championships and to build towards the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“I wanted to bring in players that I really think can play and give them an opportunity to be exposed to the Opals program,” Joyce said.

“We see this extended squad as an opportunity to expose more players to what we are doing here in the Jayco Australian Opals program – not just for the now, but for the future – so the players who will become the Opals of the future understand the expectations and fit seamlessly into the squad.

“We’ve included some young players in the squad and it’s important we do it now and not wait until years down the track."

Cumming is expected to arrive at the Minerdome in the next week.

The sharp-shooter will first tie up duties with Townsville Fire after finishing runner-up to Bendigo in the Women's National Basketball League final on Sunday.

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