Home » Australian Opals Olympic team revealed: WNBA talent headlines squad, Lauren Jackson makes fifth Olympic Games | Sporting News Australia

Australian Opals Olympic team revealed: WNBA talent headlines squad, Lauren Jackson makes fifth Olympic Games | Sporting News Australia

Australian Opals Olympic team revealed: WNBA talent headlines squad, Lauren Jackson makes fifth Olympic Games | Sporting News Australia

The Australian Opals have announced their squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics, with a host of elite WNBA talent set to have the team firmly in the medal hunt. 

After a disappointing Tokyo Olympics saw the Opals eliminated in the quarterfinals, the team bounced back in a big way in the 2022 FIBA World Cup, claiming Bronze after missing the Gold Medal match by just two points. 

Two years on, and Australia are hoping their momentum can continue, led by previous WNBA All Star Ezi Magbegor, and Opals icon Lauren Jackson back for a fifth appearance. 

Magbegor, Smith, Allen highlight WNBA talent in Opals squad

The 2024 Paris Olympic Opals feature one of the most elite collections of WNBA talent to pull on the green and gold. 

Chief among them is Ezi Magbegor, the Seattle Storm player who has been named to two WNBA All-Defensive Teams, an All-Star in 2023, and was stiff to not be selected this season. 

Alanna Smith was another player many thought would be an All-Star, currently enjoying a career-year with title contenders the Minnesota Lynx. 

The Opals other WNBA talents include Washington’s Jade Melbourne, Phoenix’s Bec Allen, Los Angeles’ Steph Talbot, Indiana’s Kristy Wallace, and Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb. 

2024’s 20th draft pick Issy Borlase was also named on the team, with the youngster yet to move stateside to make her WNBA debut. 

The squad is rounded out by a strong group of WNBL talent featuring Cayla George, Tess Madgen, and Marianna Tolo, as well as Australian basketball icon Lauren Jackson. 

PLAYER TEAM
Bec Allen Phoenix Mercury
Issy Borlase Adelaide Lightning
Cayla George Sydney Flames
Lauren Jackson Southside Flyers 
Tess Madgen Sydney Flames
Ezi Magbegor Seattle Storm
Jade Melbourne Washington Mystics
Alanna Smith Minnesota Lynx
Steph Talbot Los Angeles Sparks
Marianna Tolo Bendigo Spirit
Kristy Wallace Indiana Fever
Sami Whitcomb Seattle Storm

Lauren Jackson qualifies for fifth Olympics

Australia’s greatest ever sporting comeback has continued, with Lauren Jackson named to her fifth Olympic team. 

Jackson, who first retired in 2016, came out of retirement in 2022, playing for NBL1 team Albury-Wodonga Bandits. 

This quickly snowballed, leading to her returning to the WNBL with the Southside Flyers, and suiting up for Australia at the 2022 World Cup.

After helping the Opals qualify for the 2024 Olympics earlier in the year, she then briefly retired again, but the allure of the green and gold was too strong, and she was named to the team for the Paris Games. 

This will be Jackson’s fifth Olympics; she previously played for Australia in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008, and London in 2012 – medalling in all four. 

After missing the 2016 and 2020 games due to injury and subsequent retirement, Jackson is back with some unfinished business, as the Opals seek to return to the podium after leaving empty-handed in Japan.