Thursday, May 3, 2012

Opals can cope without Penny: Jackson

Updated May 03, 2012 17:18:54

Opals ace Lauren Jackson believes Australia has the necessary depth to challenge for a medal despite Penny Taylor missing London 2012 through injury.

Alongside Jackson, Taylor was a vital figure in the Opals winning silver medals at Athens and Beijing and a gold medal in the 2006 World Championships.

Taylor suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury playing for Fenerbahce in the EuroLeague that ruled her out of the Games.

Although sad her long-time team-mate will not be with her in London, Jackson insists Australia has enough players to make up for her absence.

"There's a lot of talent, a lot of depth in our team," Jackson told Grandstand.

"Penny's a great player and we're going to miss her but we can't dwell on that.

"We need our players to move forward to believe enough in themselves that they can take on what Penny would have brought - the scoring and the defence.

"I think we have enough talent to deal with that. We have got the two months together as a team to work through that.

"With Jenna O'Hea, Belinda Snell, who is a veteran, we've got a lot of weapons, I think we'll be okay."

The three-time WNBL MVP, who is now full fit after a hip injury dogged her 2011 season, rejects any suggestion that Australia has an easy draw after being drawn in the opposite group to the United States at London 2012.

Australia is with Brazil, Britain, Russia and two qualifying teams in Group B while the United States will be joined by Angola, China and three qualifiers.

The United States has won gold at six of the last seven games but Jackson insists there will be no complacency amongst the Opals.

"I don't think anyone's going to be complacent. The rest of the world's catching up," Jackson said.

"Great Britain has (former Opals coach) Tom Maher as their coach so you know they're going to be tough ... Brazil has some great players coming through and Russia (are a) powerhouse.

"It's going to be a tough pool but no tougher than we've experienced before."

Tags: sport, olympics-summer, basketball, australia

First posted May 03, 2012 17:16:32

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