'She could still play': Opals coach happy to leave door open for Jackson

'We'll give her the space, there's no pressure from us.'


Opals coach Sandy Brondello has left the door ajar for legendary to participate in the Paris Olympics, but won't pressure her into doing so. / (min cost $ 0 ) or signup to continue reading Jackson sat out Australia's thrilling 75-73 victory over Serbia in Belem, Brazil, which secured the Opals a 3-0 sweep of their Olympic qualifiers. Australia's greatest-ever basketballer, Jackson played in the Opals' win against Germany 24 hours earlier, before making a shock announcement in a post-match on-court interview that she would be retiring and won't feature in her fifth Games.

"Lauren needs to do what's best for Lauren," Brondello said of Jackson, who turns 43 two months before the Olympics. "Her legacy is already set. It's (about) what Lauren wants now.

"I think she could still play - she's in way better shape than she was in at the (2022) World Cup. "We'll give her the space, there's no pressure from us. We'll support her.

"I think she can still play, but if she doesn't that's fine too." Jackson, however, will once again be playing in the border stadium named in her honour after signing with the Albury-Wodonga Bandits for the 2024 NBL1 East season. "It's phenomenal for the area and it's phenomenal for basketball, not just here, but Australia and worldwide to have someone of Lauren's stature going around again," newly appointed Bandits' coach .

With Jackson and captain Tess Madgen out, the third-ranked Opals narrowly squeaked home against world No.10 Serbia, veteran centre Mariann.