GEMS LOCKED IN FOR FIBA UNDER 18 WOMEN’S ASIA CUP

Basketball Australia
Written by Jaylee Ismay
8 May, 2024

A talented wave of Australia’s next generation in women’s basketball has been selected to represent the Gems for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Under 18 Asia Cup in China from 22 – 30 June. 

Basketball NSW is excited to congratulate our NSW athletes Opal Bird (Manly Sea Eagles/CoE), Jade Crook (Albury Cougars/CoE) & Saffron Shiels (Newcastle Falcons/CoE) along with Renae Garlepp (Norths Bears) who has been appointed as the Assistant Coach.

The Gems are taking a 12-player team featuring nine players from the FIBA Women’s Under 17 Oceania Championship in October last year. This includes Opal Bird, Monique Bobongie, Teyahna Bond, Jade Crook, Bonnie Deas, Hilary Fuller, Sienna Harvey, Saffron Shiels and Lara Somfai. Emilija Dakic, Zara Russell and Monique Williams have been added to the Gems team that will travel to China in June. 

The FIBA fifth-ranked Gems team is set to face off against Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and Korea in Group A, while Group B will see New Zealand, China, Indonesia, and Japan battle it out.

“We are heading to the FIBA Under 18 Asia Cup with the goal of setting a consistent standard and testing ourselves against the best teams in Asia. There is added meaning to this tournament as the qualification pathway for the Under 19 World Cup as well,” said Gems Head Coach Kristen Veal. 

“We expect this event to be challenging in many ways. We have to be prepared both on and off the court, trust in our strengths, adapt on the fly, and outwork every team. We are hoping the players get a full and meaningful experience.  It’s important that they learn not only about international competition but how to manage themselves in this environment and perform as a team every game.”

If the Gems finish in the top four at the FIBA U18 Asia Cup they will automatically qualify for the 2025 U19 Women’s World Championships.   

“The Asia Cup is a significant event for our youth teams and with the depth of the region in the youth women’s game, this will be a great challenge for the Gems,” said Peter Lonergan, Basketball Australia’s Director of High Performance – Coaching & Talent Identification.  

“We are excited about this young group and the depth and versatility of the team.” 

For more information about the event, click here.

Australia – U18 Women’s Gems
Opal Bird (NSW)  Hilary Fuller (QLD)
Monique Bobongie (QLD) Sienna Harvey (VIC)
Teyahna Bond (QLD) Zara Russell (ACT)
Jade Crook (NSW)  Saffron Shiels (NSW) 
Emilija Dakic (VIC) Lara Somfai (SA)
Bonnie Deas (VIC) Monique Williams (WA)

 

Head Coach  Assistant Coach  Assistant Coach 
Kristen Veal Renae Garlepp  Katherine McPhail

 

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