New faces and some returning familiar ones feature in the Australian Opals squad named on Tuesday ahead of next month's FIBA Asia Cup in Sydney.
The 19-player roster includes six potential debutants in teenagers Nyadiew Pouch (Southside Flyers), Isobel Borlase (Adelaide Lightning) and WNBA draftee Shaneice Swain (UC Capitals), Perth Lynx pair Amy Atwell and Chloe Bibby and Chantel Horvat who has just completed a European campaign in Poland.
Overlooked across the past few years despite producing consistently strong form in Europe, Alice Kunek gets an opportunity for the first time since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Kunek most recently won a championship with Ezi Magbegor for Hungarian powerhouse Sopron Basket.
Alex Bunton, who last represented her country at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain where the Opals won a silver medal, has earned a recall to the squad in one of Australian basketball's great stories.
Following a gruelling 11 knee surgeries, Bunton retired in 2019.
Fast forward to late 2021 and she would make a triumphant return to basketball in the WNBL with the UC Capitals and then last year bravely shared her story of experiencing domestic violence at the hands of her former partner while pregnant with their child, daughter Opal.
Her comeback to the sport and now a national squad is a tale of courage, strength and hard work.
The Asia Cup squad is vastly different to the Opals team which stood on the podium at last year's FIBA Women's World Cup in Sydney celebrating a bronze medal.
Just four of those players are part of this squad - captain Tess Madgen, veteran Marianna Tolo, Darcee Garbin and Anneli Maley.
The huge selection changes are because the WNBA is now in season with bronze medallists Sami Whitcomb, Ezi Magbegor, Kristy Wallace and Cayla George competing in the US along with Jade Melbourne and Alanna Smith who just missed out on World Cup selection.
World Cup All-Star Five member Steph Talbot is recovering from ACL, Sara Blicavs is a taking a break in 2023 and Lauren Jackson retired from international basketball following the World Cup.
Opals coach Sandy Brondello is currently leading New York Liberty in the WNBA so the coaching reins have been handed to Shannon Seebohm, the best coach of senior women based in Australia.
The appointment is true reward and recognition for his winning form, proven development of emerging talent and successful track record.
Seebohm steered Townsville Fire to a 16-game winning streak on the way to winning the 2022-23 WNBL championship and has developed a core of players including his own point guard Steph Reid who has been named in this squad.
Seebohm has a depth of experience coaching Australia at junior international level namely a gold-medal winning performance at the 2016 Under-17 World Cup.
There's plenty of talent amongst the guards with Reid, Shyla Heal, Maddy Rocci and Tiana Mangakahia who will be mentored by one of Australia's greatest ever players, four-time Olympic medallist Kristi Harrower who has been named an assistant coach alongside long-time Opals coaching staff member Cheryl Chambers and one of the country's emerging young coaches Renae Garlepp.
The FIBA Asia Cup tips off on June 26 with medals decided on July 2 at Sydney's Quaycentre.
Drawn in Group B, Australia play group-phase games against the Philippines (Monday), Chinese Taipei (Tuesday) and Japan (Wednesday) before finals begin on June 30.
Australian Opals FIBA Asia Cup squad:
Amy Atwell Chloe Bibby Isobel Borlase Alex Bunton Keely Froling Darcee Garbin Shyla Heal Chantel Horvat Alice Kunek Tess Madgen Anneli Maley Tiana Mangakahia Lauren Nicholson Nyadiew Puoch Stephanie Reid Maddison Rocci Lauren Scherf Shaneice Swain Marianna Tolo