The London Olympics are coming, and days after USA Basketball named 24 finalists for its squad, Basketball Australia has done the same. The group includes, as expected, Storm star Lauren Jackson and three other players who previously played in Seattle: Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop and Belinda Snell.
Jackson announced last year her plans to sit out the first half of the 2012 WNBA season to prepare for the Olympics. So to will Snell, an unrestricted free agent who played for the Storm last season. That will allow them to participate in a pre-Olympic training camp beginning in May. Prior to that, Basketball Australia will use a selection camp in March to help choose the players who will be part of the final squad.
The Opals, who have won silver in each of the last three Olympics, are looking to regroup after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. With Jackson and other key players like Snell and Penny Taylor in their 30s, there is a sense of urgency as Australia tries to capture an elusive gold medal.