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Tolo, Hodges return for Opals Europe tour

  • Tolo, Hodges return for Opals Europe tour

    Marianna Tolo (pic) and Laura Hodges will return to the Opals for an eight-game tour of Europe.

Stars Marianna Tolo and Laura Hodges are returning to the Australian women's basketball team for a gruelling tour of Europe two months out from the Rio Olympics.

Centre Tolo is back after recovering from a knee reconstruction, while veteran forward Hodges returns following her club season in France with Bourges.

Tolo was a standout in the Opals' world championship campaign in 2014 before she tore her anterior cruciate ligament while playing in the WNBA.

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"She slightly hurt her foot a week or so ago but she will be right for the tour," coach Brendan Joyce said.

The pair were included in a 13-player squad named on Tuesday, as was Tess Madgen who missed this month's warm-up tour of Japan after injuring her ankle in training.

Penny Taylor, Erin Phillips and Abby Bishop are playing in the WNBA and won't make the trip, nor will Sara Blicavs as she continues recovery on an ankle injury suffered earlier in the year.

The Opals fly out to Spain on Thursday and will play eight games in 15 days - a schedule similar to the Olympic program between August 7 and 21.

Several national teams will be in Europe preparing for next month's final Olympic qualifying tournament, with the likes of France, Canada, China, Argentina, Spain and Cameroon all vying for the last five places.

"The No.1 thing for me on this tour is scouting," said Joyce.

"We won't have our full team but the teams we are playing are high quality and will be at full strength."

The Opals will return to Australia for two camps, in Canberra and the Gold Coast in June and July, before Joyce names his final 12-woman roster for Rio.

Opals tour squad: Rebecca Allen, Suzy Batkovic, Natalie Burton, Elizabeth Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Cayla George, Laura Hodges, Rachel Jarry, Tessa Lavey, Tess Madgen, Leilani Mitchell, Stephanie Talbot, Marianna Tolo.


May 29: v Argentina

May 30: v Spain

June 2: v Cameroon

June 3: v Belgium

June 4: v Italy

June 7: v China

June 8: v Canada

June 9: v France

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