Bendigo basketball trio at the Olympics | Bendigo Advertiser

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The Australian Opals team for this year’s Tokyo Olympics will have a distinct flavor of Bendigo. It follows selections from Bendigo Spirit WNBL pair Tessa Lavey and Leilani Mitchell and Bendigo Braves NBL1 star Tess Madgen to the 12-person women’s basketball team that will compete in Japan later this year. Lavey, the reigning Spirit’s Most Valuable Player award winner, and Mitchell, a new signing for 2021-22, return for their second Olympics, while Madgen, co-captain of the Braves 2021, will make its Olympic debut. Announced on Wednesday morning, a powerful Opals roster, which will aim to bolster their 2018 World Cup silver medal in Spain, will be led by two-time Olympian Jenna O’Hea and coached by three-time Olympian Liz. Cambage. Lavey and Mitchell are among the team’s seven double Olympians, joined by O’Hea, Katie Ebzery, Cayla George, Stephanie Talbot and Marianna Tolo. Rebecca Allen, Ezi Magbegor and Alanna Smith will debut alongside Madgen. Bendigo Spirit coach Tracy York hailed the selections as a big moment for Bendigo’s basketball and a personal triumph for the three players currently representing the city in WNBL or NBL1. “The whole team in selection were super talented and there were some really good young players showing up, so I guess for (coach) Sandy Brondello it’s a very versatile team and a solid roster,” said she declared. “They are all very experienced and can add something different to the plate.” There is no doubt that they all deserved their place. “For Tessa, she was on the 2016 team, and I think it’s great for her to be on the team again.” It’s a big thrill for her and it’s great for Bendigo and now Lei (Mitchell) is with us and Tess Madgen, although she plays WNBL with the (Melbourne) Boomers, she’s Braves so it’s great for Bendigo. It is a great victory for the city. “The Opals strive to add to their rich Olympic heritage, with three silver and two bronze from Atlanta 1996 to London 2012. As the lack of international basketball during COVID makes the Olympics a bit of this year. an unknown, York felt that there was no reason why the Opals didn’t head to Tokyo for a realistic chance of securing their very first gold. “We obviously didn’t. saw a lot of international basketball but we know the USA will always be tough and some of the European countries but we have a great roster and we are ranked number two in the world, ”she said. Braves coach Mark Alabakov said he couldn’t be happier to see Madgen, 30, who was part of the squad that won the Opals’ silver medal at the 2018 World Cup, won an Olympic summons. “It’s totally deserving, she really took his game to another level in recent years, “he said. with coming back in 2014 and 2015 with the Boomers and maturing her game and she as a person over the past seven years has been as good as I’ve seen her. “She’s ultra-competitive and incredibly talented on both ends of the pitch, but does it all with a team mentality first.” She always involves others in the game. You watch her games with the Braves, it’s a triple-double machine; she contributes in all areas and it is an honor that she truly deserves. “A second Olympic selection for Lavey continues the incredible last 12 months on the sporting front, following his selection by Richmond in the AFLW draft last year and the following start season earlier this year. Alabakov, the Spirit’s assistant head coach in 2020, said the selection of the 28-year-old guard was a reward for an outstanding season in the WNBL hub and pure hard work and dedication. “During COVID, we had an exemption and I was with her doing one-on-one workouts five days a week during the lockdown period and that work illustrated the season she had in the hub, “he said.” Even though we didn’t win a game, she was statistically the best performer. guard throughout the competition. “She’s proof that a girl out of the country with a work ethic and diligence and as someone willing to seek help to improve themselves, can accomplish anything.” She’s now a two-time Olympian and a double-coded athlete, it’s a phenomenal story. Point guard Mitchell, who signed with Spirit last month after winning a trio of WNBL championships with Southside Flyers last year, Canberra Capitals in 2019 and Sydney Uni Flames in 2017, currently plays in the WNBA with Washington . Mystics. She scored six points and had three assists in Mystics’ last game, an 85-69 win over Indiana Fever READ MORE: WNBL star Leilani Mitchell joins Spirit in stunning Tiger coup Tessa tackles two elite sports after joining AFLW Gold standard: Opals team member Tess Madgen signs with Braves.


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