Home / World News / Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson earns recall to Opals squad for World Cup after coming out of retirement

Australian basketball legend Lauren Jackson earns recall to Opals squad for World Cup after coming out of retirement

Basketball legend Lauren Jackson will suit up for her fifth World Cup after a 12 year absence, making her return to the national team.

Jackson, 41, has been included in a 12-strong Opals team for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup which gets underway in Sydney on September 22.

The Australians are looking to improve on the silver medal they won in 2018 in Spain under current coach Sandy Brondello.

Retiring from international basketball nine years ago, Jackson’s last World Cup appearance was in 2010.

Jackson admitted she had a cry when Brondello told her of her selection.

“There were a lot of emotions when Sandy rang me, I had a bit of a cry to be honest,” Jackson said.

“I have been working my body hard, and I didn’t honestly know if it was going to hold up to my intense training regime, but it has and I’m feeling good.”

Underlining the experience in the squad, Bec Allen and Cayla George will return for their third tournament and Marianna Tolo, Steph Talbot, Sami Whitcomb, Tess Madgen and Ezi Magbegor are playing in their second World Cup.

Sara Blicavs, Darcee Garbin, Anneli Maley and Kristy Wallace will make their debut.

There are five current WNBA players including Allen (New York Liberty), Magbegor (Seattle Storm), Whitcomb (New York Liberty), Wallace (Atlanta Dream) and Talbot (Seattle Storm).

The Opals are ranked No.3 in the world, and have drawn Group C, with pool matches against France, Serbia, Japan, Mali and Canada.

Brondello, herself a four-time World Cup athlete, said Jackson deserved her spot.

“Making the final cut to twelve is always difficult with so many great athletes pushing for selection,” Brondello said.

“The training camp in New York demonstrated how much each of these athletes wanted to compete on home soil, the competition for a spot on the team was fierce.

“Of course, the inclusion of Lauren is the talking point but from my perspective, she has put in the work and deserves to be here, she will add another dimension to our team dynamic.”

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