Locks, bolters, and more: Assessing the Opals' squad for Paris

Draymond makes contact with Patty Mills' neck on hard foul (0:39)

Draymond Green knocks Patty Mills to the floor after the two get tangled up in the paint. (0:39)

Australia's greatest ever basketballer, a college star and the best three-point shooter in the country have been included in a bumper Opals squad from which the team for the Paris Olympics will be selected.

After declaring she "was done" in the moments after Australia punched its ticket to Paris in February, Lauren Jackson, 42, has kept the door ajar on a fifth Olympic appearance.

Jackson was named in the 26-player squad less than two weeks after winning a seventh WNBL championship capping a finals series where she scored 38 points and hauled in 11 rebounds against Melbourne in the semifinal decider.

Virginia Tech star Georgia Amoore, who is leading her side in NCAA March Madness, has earned selection in the senior national team for the first time while Amy Atwell's superb season, and body of finals work, from the three-point line has been rewarded.

Alex Sharp, Lauren Nicholson, Chloe Bibby and Lauren Scherf have been added to the squad on the back of strong form in the WNBL and Europe.

The Opals squad will take part in training camps, international tours and lead-up games before head coach Sandy Brondello settles on the final 12-player team.

Here are some of the Opals' potential locks and bolters.


Lauren Jackson

If willing and able, LJ was always going to be a lock for Paris.

Jackson has spoken in depth about putting her young sons first and now confirmation of parental support from Basketball Australia will allow her children and a carer to travel on tour allowing the GOAT to be part of fifth-Olympic campaign.

In terrific shape and fresh from more success, Jackson offers immeasurable experience, leadership and winning pedigree.

Ezi Magbegor

Magbegor will turn 25 in the weeks after Paris and have two Olympics and two World Cups under her belt.

She's achieved plenty but has so much basketball ahead of her and frighteningly more potential to unearth.

Her display in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament opener was stunning. Magbegor led the way at both ends of the floor but more in a commanding performance where she demanded the ball and wanted to take her team on her back. The finishing touch is now adding consistency.

Marianna Tolo

There are few certainties in life but death, taxes and Marianna Tolo delivering at international level are a couple.

The 33-year-old has not only been a constant but a consistent contributor for the Opals over the past decade at major tournaments and two Olympics.

Her wealth of experience and success throughout Europe comes to the fore on the international stage where she shines as a major key for Australia.

Steph Talbot

An All-Star at the last FIBA World Cup in 2022, Talbot is one of the Opals leading lights.

Her third Olympics will be a triumph after recovering from an ACL injury which sidelined her until January this year.

The 29-year-old guard looked fit, strong and didn't miss a beat in her handful of WNBL games and will continue her comeback with the LA Sparks in the WNBA. Potent scorer, great defender, true leader, Talbot is a humble champion.

Jade Melbourne

It's Jade Melbourne time.

Unlucky not to represent Australia on home soil at the 2022 World Cup, the high-energy 21-year-old guard is ready for an Olympic berth.

She has four WNBL seasons under her belt, honed leadership skills with the struggling Canberra Capitals and this year enters her second WNBA campaign with Seattle Storm.

Melbourne can add instant energy off the bench and blooding her in Paris will be integral to her future role in the Opals program.


Isobel Borlase

The 20-year-old showed her skill set and composure on debut at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February, debuting in the second game against Germany then earning a start in the final fixture against Serbia.

With two full WNBL campaigns for Adelaide under her belt, the athletic forward is set to be selected in the first round of next month's WNBA draft.

Touted as an Opal for years to come, Borlase has age and time on her side and if selected for Paris would follow in the footsteps of Steph Talbot (Rio) and Rachel Jarry (London) who made Olympics as 21 and 20-year-olds respectively.

Maddy Rocci

Part of the bronze-medal campaign at last year's FIBA Asia Cup, Rocci was overlooked for the February qualifiers in Brazil with Steph Reid getting the nod.

It's what Rocci, as of this month now a three-time WNBL champion, has done since that will strengthen her chances for Paris.

With dual Olympian Leilani Mitchell stepping into the Southside Flyers starting line-up, Rocci's position and role changed and the guard showed selflessness and maturity in sacrificing her scoring game in the quest for team success.

This team-first attitude, integral in the title and part of the Opals ethos, will hold her in good stead.

Amy Atwell

A pure scorer, Atwell forced her way into the squad with the WNBL form that lifted Perth to a Grand Final series appearance.

After debuting at last year's FIBA Asia Cup, Atwell was considered unlucky to miss selection in the squad for the Olympic qualifying tournament in February.

Her offensive prowess was on display in the WNBL Grand Final Series opener where she sunk 9 triples, at 64 per cent, among her game-high 30 points.

With the experience of the likes of Steph Talbot and Bec Allen around her, it will be tough for Atwell to crack the final 12 but her opportunity in the squad will allow her to continue to develop in the national program.

Georgia Amoore

The college star has long been making waves and has been named in her first of many Opals squads to come.

The 22-year-old from Ballarat measures in at 168cm and has a refined point guard's game which is complemented by what's become a signature step-back three ball.

A predicted top 10 WNBA draft pick, Amoore will find tough competition from the squad's more senior guards but one certainty is the huge international career ahead of her.

Extended squad for Paris 2024

Rebecca Allen
Zitina Aokuso
Georgia Amoore
Amy Atwell
Chloe Bibby
Isobel Borlase
Keely Froling
Darcee Garbin
Cayla George
Shyla Heal
Lauren Jackson
Alice Kunek
Tess Madgen
Ezi Magbegor
Anneli Maley
Jade Melbourne
Lauren Nicholson
Stephanie Reid
Maddison Rocci
Lauren Scherf
Alex Sharp
Alanna Smith
Stephanie Talbot
Marianna Tolo
Kristy Wallace
Sami Whitcomb