‘I had a bit of a cry’: Lauren Jackson headlines Australian Opals for FIBA Women’s World Cup

Lauren Jackson will play for the Australian Opals at next month’s FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney – the same city where she made her Olympic debut more than two decades ago.

The 41-year-old has been named on the roster for the World Cup almost nine years after retiring from the sport due to chronic injury.

Jackson said she was overcome with emotion when Australian coach Sandy Brondello called her with the news.

“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.”

“The whole team has been so welcoming and made me feel at home, the age difference disappears as soon as I step onto the court. I believe in this team and what we can achieve, if I can play a part if getting us onto the podium then the hard work is all worthwhile.”

″⁣The whole team has been so welcoming and made me feel at home, the age difference disappears as soon as I step onto the court.”

WNBA players Bec Allen, Ezi Magbegor, Steph Talbot, Kristy Wallace and Sami Whitcomb have all made the roster as have long-time Opals Cayla George, Marianna Tolo and Tess Madgen.

Lauren Jackson was back in action for the Opals.Credit:Josh Sawyer

Sara Blicavs, Darcee Garbin, Anneli Maley and Wallace will all be playing their first World Cups.

The world No. 3 ranked Opals face a difficult group in Sydney with France, Serbia and Japan all having made the medal round at the Tokyo Olympics while Canada has a strong roster and Mali round out the group.

“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.”

The World Cup will be played at Qudos Bank Arena and the Quaycentre in Sydney from September 22 to October 1.

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