Flames guard named in national junior team

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Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames guard Ashleigh Karaitiana has been named in the Australian Under 19 team for a tour of China next month.

The athletic City of Sydney junior gained selection in the “Gems” outfit after impressing at a 4-day camp in Melbourne last week, which included games against SEABL teams Knox and Dandenong.

The Gems depart for a 4-Nation tournament and other games in China on April 29 as a key part of the preparation for the FIBA World Under 19 Championships to be held in Chile in July.

Karaitiana has already participated in a World Championship in this age group, joining 2010/2011 WNBL MVP Liz Cambage in the Gems outfit at the 2009 event in Malaysia.

Flames coach Karen Dalton will also be on the tour as an assistant coach, with the team being led by former WNBL Coach of the Year Cheryl Chambers.

Karaitiana played in her first season in the blue and gold in 2010/2011 and is also a member of the Sydney Uni Flames Academy Program.

Flames Academy coach Peter Lonergan said her development over the summer has been key in gaining selection for this tour.

“Ash was always a talented junior, but she has committed to working on her game and her conditioning over the summer and that makes her a valuable international guard prospect,” he said.

“This tour will be important for the preparation of the team for the Worlds and Ashleigh has been working hard to ensure she performs well and gives herself every chance of selection moving forward.”