Newcastle basketballer Katie Ebzery has identified defence as the key for Australia to feature at the back end of the World Cup, which starts in Spain on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Perth-bound Olympian was confident the Opals’ attack would gel at the 2018 tournament, but said working together off the ball to reduce points was a priority.
“We need to be great defensively to make sure we are there at the pointy end of the tournament,” Ebzery told the Newcastle Herald.
“We have a lot of weapons offensively so we know that that will take care of itself, but our defence will be what gets us to the later half of the tournament.”
A new-look Opals squad open the competition with three games in the space of four days, but Ebzery said she felt well prepared after several lead-up games featuring a scrimmage this week against two-time defending champions USA.
“Everything is shaping up well for the weekend,” she said.
“We have had a few games in the lead up, which have been invaluable to us learning on the run as our final group comes together.”
Ebzery represented the women’s national team at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and collected an Asia Cup silver medal last year as part of World Cup qualification.
The former Hunters junior then claimed gold at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April.
“I’m feeling excited for the campaign to start,” she said.
“It’s always amazing pulling on the green and gold at a major international tournament. We have been away since the beginning of the month so are looking forward to getting started.”
Ebzery will line-up for the Perth Lynx in the 2018-2019 Women’s National Basketball League, which starts next month, after skippering the Sydney Flames in the most recent finals series.
The Opals, who won the World Cup in 2006, have preliminary round encounters with Nigera on Saturday (8:30pm AEST), Argentina on Sunday (8pm) and Turkey on Tuesday (8:30pm).