Cambage returns for Opals' Olympics push

Liz Cambage returns to Australia's squad as they continue their Tokyo Olympics qualifying quest.
Liz Cambage returns to Australia's squad as they continue their Tokyo Olympics qualifying quest.

Liz Cambage will return to a full-strength Opals squad as they continue their tricky path to next year's Olympics with a trio of games in Malaysia next month.

Cambage missed Australia's bronze medal Asia Cup campaign while contesting the WNBA playoffs for Las Vegas.

But with her campaign in the US now done the All-Star has been named alongside Marianna Tolo and Kelsey Griffin in what are crucial games in the battle race for a Tokyo 2020 berth.

Set to play Japan, Taiwan and India between November 14-17, Australia must finish in the top two to progress to February's final round of qualifying, where only the top three from four pools will advance to the Olympics.

Cambage was sorely missed as the world No.3 Australians lost to China and Japan in the Asia Cup to miss the gold medal game in India last month.

With the elite centre back on deck, the three-time Olympic silver medallists shouldn't be troubled in Malaysia next month, where coach Sandy Brondello hopes to learn plenty with a full-strength squad at her disposal.

The 19-strong squad to play in Kuala Lumpur also features Asia Cup standout Rebecca Allen and emerging talent Ezi Magbegor.

"We have named a squad of 19 athletes from which the final 12 will be selected from (and) it is great to include Liz, Marianna and Kelsey back in the mix after they missed the Asia Cup due to injuries and WNBA," Brondello said.

"The recent Asia Cup showed us areas that we need to be better at and these upcoming games, with our best team possible, will give us valuable training and games experiences so that we can continue to improve our team chemistry and execution."

The Opals will be keen to make up for their relatively poor Rio Olympics campaign, where a shock loss to Serbia saw them miss the semi-finals and a medal for the first time since 1992.

OPALS PRE-OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS

November 14 v Taiwan

November 16 v India

November 17 v Japan

Opals squad: Rebecca Allen, Abby Bishop, Sara Blicavs, Liz Cambage, Katie-Rae Ebzery, Darcee Garbin, Cayla George, Kelsey Griffin, Tess Lavey, Tess Madgen, Ezi Magbegor, Leilani Mitchell, Lauren Nicholson, Jenna O'Hea, Nicole Seekamp, Steph Talbot, Marianna Tolo, Tahlia Tupaea, Sami Whitcomb.

Australian Associated Press