EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon junior guard Micaela Cocks was officially named to the New Zealand Tall Ferns women’s Olympic Team for Beijing 2008, it was announced by the The New Zealand Olympic Committee today.

Cocks left Eugene following the winter term, and has been in New Zealand training with the team for the last three months.

“It was a huge relief to finally hear that I had made the Olympic team,” Cocks said after receiving the news. “I was so excited, but it did not really hit me until that night when I realized, ‘Wow, I’m an Olympian’."

The 5-foot-8 combo guard becomes just the third Oregon player in women’s basketball program history to represent her country in the Olympics, joining current Ducks head coach Bev Smith (Canada; 1984, 1996) and Alison Lang (Canada; 1984). Smith and Lang each began their Olympic careers after finishing their eligibility at Oregon, making Cocks the first student-athlete in women's basketball program history to compete in the Olympics during her collegiate career.

Currently the Tall Ferns are based in Christchurch and training as a team two to three times a day. The team will leave for Beijing on July 30.

“It was not until we had a day off that news settled in, and I realized how hard and demanding the trial period had been,” Cocks said. “But that was just the beginning, and we are now working hard on all aspects such as scouting, strength and conditioning and gelling as a team. All the focus is on being at our peak when we step onto the floor to play Mali on Saturday, Aug. 9.

“The process (to make the team) started in April 2007 and it has been non stop since then,” Cocks said. “It has been the best preparation the Tall Ferns have ever had, and therefore very demanding. We have had training camps, tours to many Asian countries and our last tour was to Europe.”

Cocks was with the Tall Ferns during a 10-day European tour from May 28 - June 5. The team finished the competition with a record of 2-4 and returned to New Zealand to continue training and finalize the roster for the Olympics.

“I am obviously looking forward to representing and competing for my country again, and playing against the best basketball teams in the world from the USA to Spain,” Cocks said. “It will also be a real thrill and great experience to rub shoulders with top competitors in all sorts of sports from around the world.

“Being part of the opening and closing ceremonies will be amazing. I have watched the ceremonies on TV in the past, but this time I will be there and waving at the cameras - it will be so cool.”

New Zealand has been drawn into Pool B for the 2008 Olympics, with its first game scheduled for Aug. 9, against Mali. China and the United States are also in New Zealand’s pool.

Cocks is one of four current or former student-athletes on the 2008 New Zealand Olympic team that have played collegiate basketball in the United States; Clare Bodensteiner (Stanford), Jillian Harmon (Stanford) and Jessica McCormack (Connecticut).

Cocks joins three other fellow University of Oregon athletes, Galen Rupp and Andrew Wheating from the Track & Field team, and Jenn Salling (Canada) from the softball team, who will also be competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.