18 May 2012

No surprises in Tall Ferns squad

6:03 am on 18 May 2012

A 16-strong squad New Zealand women's basketball team has been named to prepare for a list-ditch attempt to qualify for the London Olympics from late June in Turkey.

Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Hamilton-Kereama named only one player yet to suit up for the national women's team, and the American-born Casey Lockwood's inclusion is dependent on medical clearance for a knee injury. All other players named have represented New Zealand since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The squad includes seven survivors from Beijing - guards Micaela Cocks, Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe and Noni Wharemate, and forwards Jillian Harmon, Charmian Mellars, Natalie Taylor and Lisa Wallbutton.

The two most notable omissions are guard Suzie Bates, who also played at Beijing, and two-time Olympian Angela Marino, also a guard.

Dual international Bates has made herself unavailable to concentrate on her duties as White Ferns cricket captain while Marino missed last year's FIBA Oceania Championship through injury and hasn't turned out for the Tall Ferns in four years.

Hamilton-Kereama says it's a very different side to the last time Marino played and the door is not closed on her returning in the future.

The squad will assemble later this month before 12 players are selected for a tour of China. From late June to early July, Turkey will host New Zealand and 11 other countries trying to nail down one of five remaining spots still available for the London Olympics.

The 16th-ranked Tall Ferns face the fourth-ranked Czech Republic and 12th-ranked Argentina in pool play.

The full NZ squad is... Micaela Cocks, Rebecca Dew, Antonia Edmondson, Natasha Hall, Jillian Harmon, Jordan Hunter, Karlene Kingi, Casey Lockwood, Patrice Mackenzie, Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe, Charmian Mellars, Erin Rooney, Natalie Taylor, Jelena Vucinic, Lisa Wallbutton, Noni Wharemate