AUSTRALIA - Ahead of a huge year that includes the 2019 World Indigenous Basketball Championships (WIBC) and 6th Annual Trans-Tasman Basketball Series, the Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball (AIB) women’s national squad has been announced.
The 20-woman squad includes five Queensland-based players, four from Western Australia, three representatives each from South Australia and Victoria, two from New South Wales, one from the Northern Territory, in addition to U.S.A based standout Jessica McDowell-White (Eastern Washington University) and Canada college student Renai Fejo (Langara College).
Headlining the squad is Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) star and recently named Australian Opals squad member Alex Wilson, while Olympic silver medalist Rohanee Cox has put her basketball retirement plans on hold to suit up for the All Stars in 2019. Cox became the first Indigenous woman to win a basketball medal for Australia at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Also named in the squad are Cairns-based rising stars Indiah Bowyer and Shaneice Swain. The dynamic duo is coming off gold-medal winning performances for the Australian under 15 girl’s national team at the FIBA Oceania Championships held recently in Papua New Guinea.
From the squad of 20, a final team of 10 players will be chosen to represent the Apunipima AIB All Stars women’s national team at the WIBC being held in Wellington, New Zealand from March 24-30.
“We’re very excited about our national squad and the mix of experience and youth within the group,” said head coach Ricky Baldwin.
“There’s some really experienced veterans with international experience who’ll be great mentors for the up-and-comers.”
Attending the recent AIB women’s national high-performance training camp in Dandenong helped Baldwin and the selection panel in naming the squad.
“There was so much talent on display at the camp, particularly with some of the younger Indigenous girls.”
“The standard of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketball throughout the country is increasing at a rapid rate, especially with the AIB national representation pathways available.”
The AIB squad announcement is the first step in what will be an important year ahead for the Apunipima All Stars.
“We have the WIBC in March and then we’ll shift our focus to the Trans-Tasman series in September.”
“We want to claim back the trophy from the New Zealand Maori women’s national side,” said Baldwin.
“Both the WIBC and Trans-Tasman events will present big challenges for our team, but I think if we can get great preparation for each, I’m confident that we can have success.”
The 2019 Apunipima Australian Indigenous Basketball (AIB) Women’s National Squad:
Alana Fraser - Townsville Basketball, QLD
Alex Wilson - Sydney Uni Flames, NSW
Ambah Kowcun - Forrestville Eagles, SA
Denesha Bobongie - Mackay Basketball, QLD
Georgia Baldwin - Knox Raiders, VIC
Indiah Bowyer - Cairns Basketball, QLD
Jade Dunne - Diamond Valley Basketball, VIC
Jasmin Fejo - West Adelaide Bearcats, SA
Jessica McDowell-White - Eastern Washington University, USA
Kylie Duggan - Darwin Basketball, NT
Naomi Moke - Cairns Basketball, QLD
Ne’seya Williams - Perth Lynx, WA
Rebekah Dallinger - Northern Suburbs Basketball, NSW
Renai Fejo - Langara College, CANADA
Rohanee Cox - Willetton Tigers, WA
Shaneice Swain - Cairns Basketball, QLD
Tahlia Fejo - West Adelaide Bearcats, SA
Talisia Bourne - Cockburn Cougars, WA
Tanarly Hood - Casey Cavaliers, VIC
Vanessa Michael - Cockburn Cougars, WA
Head Coach: Ricky Baldwin
Assistant Coach: Rebecca McIntyre
Assistant Coach: Timmy Duggan
Team Manager: Belinda Hayden