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Jackson headlines New York-bound Opals

Four-time Olympian Lauren Jackson will headline an Australian squad heading to New York later this month to ramp up preparations for the Women’s Basketball World Cup.

The Opals will play multiple matches against Canada – the world’s fourth-ranked side – backing up from a training camp in Canberra last week.

There are five WNBA players in the squad but it’s 41-year-old Jackson that catches the eye, the Basketball Hall of Famer having impressed in camp after ending an international retirement that began before the 2016 Olympics.

“Lauren has medalled at every Olympics and three of her World Cup appearances, she knows how to win,” Opals coach Sandy Brondello said.

“Her experience is unprecedented, she has the same hunger for success and will bring an edge to our squad.”

WNBA talents Ezi Magbegor, Sami Whitcomb, Bec Allen and Steph Talbot will take the floor while Atlanta’s Kristy Wallace is named in the squad but won’t play.

The Sydney-hosted World Cup kicks off on September 22, with Brondello hoping the fixtures would help continue to develop team cohesion.

“The games against Japan in Sydney in May were invaluable for us to test ourselves against a world-class team, having more practice matches will help us to sharpen our preparation against quality opposition,” she said.

“Nothing compares to playing international games so heading overseas is imperative for us to prepare for Sydney.”

Squad: Bec Allen, Sara Blicavs, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Lauren Jackson, Tess Madgen, Ezi Magbegor, Anneli Maley, Jade Melbourne, Maddy Rocci, Alanna Smith, Steph Talbot, Marianna Tolo, Kristy Wallace, Sami Whitcomb.

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