“The girls we have selected are long and already possess athletic ability that Paul Goriss, myself and our coaching group at the Opals CoE can improve through the daily training environment," continued Joyce.
"The Opals Centre of Excellence provides a holistic program to expedite their basketball development. I expect a few of these players will wear the green and gold in Tokyo and in following Olympics."
The eight new athletes represent a younger cohort of scholarship holders in the women’s program. This was a calculated decision by Joyce considering the heavy workload that will fall on the more senior women through their Opals commitments in the lead up to the Olympic Games in Rio in August.
The eight will join current scholarship holders Chantel Horvat, Ezi Magbegor and Jasmine Simmons, with the twelfth scholarship rotated among a number of athletes on a shorter stay basis.
The 2016 Centre of Excellence Scholarship Holders:
Lucy Cochrane Victoria
Abby Cubillo Northern Territory
Chantel Horvat Victoria
Lara McSpadden New South Wales
Ezi Magbegor Victoria
Rebecca Pizzey Victoria
Maddison Rocci Victoria
Kiera Rowe Victoria
Jazmin Shelley Victoria
Jasmine Simmons New South Wales
Samantha Simons South Australia