The ACUVUE Sydney Uni Flames will take on Chinese Taipei at 5pm at the University Sports & Aquatic Centre in what will be a showcase for New South Wales women’s basketball.
In a joint initiative of the Flames and Basketball New South Wales, the game will feature a host of players who have progressed through the ranks of NSW clubs and development programs against a Chinese Taipei team in Australia for a test series against the Defencejobs Opals next week.
The game will feature players from the current Flames roster, as well as Defencejobs WNBL Most Valuable Player Natalie Porter, who is set to pursue playing opportunities in Europe next season.
Add to that the inclusion of rising WNBL stars Abby Bishop and Marriana Tolo as guest players and junior stars Sheraton Flood (Hornsby) and Teagan Burke (Bathurst) and the quality of this exhibition clash is set to be of the highest order.
Bishop and Tolo are both graduates of the Australian Institute of Sport and will turn out for the Canberra Capitals next season and their presence will add much needed size on the front-line with regular Flames starting centre Rachel Herrick and versatile forward Eva Afeaki out with injury.
Chinese Taipei is preparing to play in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying event in Madrid next month and this game, as well as the three games against the Defencejobs Opals in Gosford next week will be key components of their preparation.
Traditionally one of the powers of Asian basketball, the Chinese Taipei style of play is one of up-tempo offence, highlighted by the ability of all players to shoot from beyond the three point arc.
This game will provide Flames Opals stars Alicia Poto and Natalie Porter with an extra international hit out before they join their Australian team-mates for a camp and the three game series on the Central Coast next week.
It will also highlight the strength of women’s basketball in NSW, with former local juniors Poto, Jaimee Kennedy and Sally Potocki joining rising junior stars Flood and Burke in the Flames line-up.
For Flood and Burke, the game provides a chance to not only rub shoulders with WNBL and Opals stars, but also to get exposure to the international game.
The Flames team will be coached by New South Wales National Intensive Training Centre Program Head Coach and Opals assistant Peter Lonergan, with Flames assistant Vlad Alava and NSW Metropolitan Under 18 Girls State team mentor Michael Turton acting as assistants.
Flames head coach and WNBL life member Karen Dalton will be on hand for the game and will take the opportunity to evaluate her squad prior to the commencement of formal team preparations in June.
Coach Peter Lonergan said the game was a great opportunity for the Flames squad and the other players to play against a quality international team.
“The Opals played against Chinese Taipei last year and they are certainly well coached, play hard and shoot the perimeter shot exceptionally well,” he said.
“This game will be a terrific hit-out for the Flames squad and obviously a great bonus for the young players who will have a taste of basketball at this level.
“We don’t often get the chance to see international basketball in our backyard, so hopefully people will come out to support the Flames and take advantage of this exhibition game,” he added.
Tip-off for the game will be at 5pm at the University Sports & Aquatic Centre, with a $2 entry fee.