Khao Watts ready to light up Diamonds’ bid

WEST Coast Fever wing defender Khao Watts has capped a fairytale rise by being named in Australia's 18-strong squad for this year's World Cup to be held in Sydney in August.

The 26-year-old was plucked from the South Australian State League by the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2012, spending two seasons with the New Zealand franchise before securing an early release from her contract to join the Fever last season.

Watts (pictured) is one of four uncapped players in the squad, which will be cut to 12 at the finish of the trans-Tasman competition.

The others are West Coast team-mate Ashleigh Brazill, Melbourne Vixens shooter Karyn Bailey and Queensland Firebirds defender Gabi Simpson.

Coach Lisa Alexander said form in the ANZ Championship had been one of the key selection criteria, with 10 players coming from the top two teams - the unbeaten Fever and the second-placed Firebirds. Australia has won 10 (nine outright) of the 13 World Cups contested since the tournament started in 1963.

It will go into the event as the defending champion after coming from six goals down to beat arch rival New Zealand 58-57 in overtime in Singapore in 2011.

SQUAD: West Coast Fever: Caitlin Bassett, Ashleigh Brazill, April Letton, Natalie Medhurst, Khao Watts; Queensland Firebirds: Rebecca Bulley, Laura Geitz, Claire McMeniman, Kimberley Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson; NSW Swifts: Julie Corletto, Kimberlee Green, Sharni Layton, Caitlin Thwaites; Melbourne Vixens: Karyn Bailey, Tegan Philip; Adelaide Thunderbirds: Erin Bell, Renae Hallinan.