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Opals big ... in Seattle

AUSTRALIA's Opals tip off their FIBA World Cup for Women campaign tonight against Nigeria in Tenerife, Spain, but they already are highly-regarded in Seattle, home of the reigning WNBA champion Storm.

The SEATTLE TIMES newspaper on Thursday in an article about the world championship, focused largely on the USA's chances of retaining the Gold, but also on its main threat - Australia.

Much of the interest in the article stemmed from the fact the city's recently crowned WNBA champion Storm have supplied three players to the American team, while another member of the USA's 12 is Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces, who played locally for the University of Washington and is the NCAA women’s Division One all-time scoring leader.

The feature also quoted Australia's No.1 all-time basketball superstar, Lauren Jackson, who enjoyed a stellar WNBA career with Seattle.

“Australia appears to be the USA’s biggest challenger for the gold medal," the article says.

"Dallas Wings’ center, Liz Cambage, who led the WNBA in scoring with 23.0 points a game in 2018, leads an Aussie team that also includes [Seattle] Storm guard Sami Whitcomb, Rebecca Allen (NY Liberty), Cayla George (Dallas Wings), and Stephanie Talbot (Phoenix Mercury), and is coached by Phoenix’s Sandy Brondello.”

(Brondello also is a former Storm player from about 15 years ago, playing with LJ near the beginning of her career there.)

“With Liz Cambage at the forefront of basketball in Australia, it’s such an interesting time," Jackson said.

"There is no player on the planet that is as dominant as she is at the moment.

"I feel I am her No.1 fan from the sense that I know what she is truly capable of doing.

"Having her in the middle is something nobody else in the world has.

"The next step for her is to lead her team to a championship win.” 

Jackson saw it first hand at the London Olympics in 2012 when Cambage threw down an in-game dunk against Russia in a halfcourt set - the first women's dunk in Olympic history - and mentored her through the last WNBL season at Melbourne Boomers.

It is pretty cool the press in Seattle is aware of the quality of Aussie women’s basketball, thanks to LJ initially putting it on the map during her time there.

The Chemist Warehouse Opals tip off intrapool play tonight against Nigeria, with the match live on FOX SPORTS from 8.20pm Eastern and 7:50 in SA and NT.

WORLD BEATERS: Lauren Jackson put us on the map, left, Liz Cambage is keeping us there.

Sep 22

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