Jackson talks tough as Opals shine against Brazil
Lauren Jackson says the Opals will be 'tough' come the London Olympics. Photo: Quinn Rooney
Lauren Jackson says the Opals are toughening up daily, and vows there is no risk of the team being ''soft'' at the London Olympics.
Australia's women's basketball team took a massive step forward in their Games preparations with a powerful 102-58 win over world No.6 Brazil - one of their London group opponents - on Thursday night to sweep their three-match series. It was an awesome display of size, strength and quality against good opposition.
Going into her fourth Olympics, the Opals captain said the current Opals squad is building the same sort of steely resolve previous Australian teams have shown.
Australia has been the silver medallist at the past three Olympics, beaten each time by the United States who again shapes as its nemesis in London.
''The Opals have definitely had a tradition of being tough and strong and playing through adversity, whether it's bad calls, roughness from the other team, injuries, things like that,'' Jackson said.
''One thing we have been doing is to pass on that legacy to the younger players.
''Day by day, you can see the toughness coming out.
''We're not as soft as maybe we have been.''
Jackson is clearly still stung by the Opals' 2010 world championship quarter-final exit - and admitted the team getting together at the last minute before the tournament was a major factor.
Australia's leading women's basketballer was among the first to commit to a marathon three-month Olympic preparation under coach Carrie Graf to ensure no repeat.
The three-match series against Brazil in Victoria brought to an end a three-and-a-half week tour for the Opals, including several matches in Europe.
Jackson said the build-up would make the Opals the best prepared they've been for a major event.
But she said success would only come if the team maintains the rage.
''After a game like this, the series and the games in Europe, I'm expecting big things from this team and myself,'' Jackson said.
''I want the girls to get better. I'm just going to keep pushing the girls like Graffy is, and hopefully, we do good things.''