Short, tall stars hit the courts
THE term 'prized recruit' is used a lot in sport but rarely does it suite as perfectly as it does on the Bundaberg Bears' latest additions.
Joining the squad for tomorrow night's game against the Mackay Meteorettes was Australian-born US College players Monique Stevens and Tanja Steed.
Stevens is fresh from a season of college basketball with Northwest Missouri State and Steed finished her time in the USA at Harding University. Stevens' on-court leadership and Steed's attitude might lift the Bears to their maiden win of the year.
From junior basketball in Australia to the college system in America, the duo has learned plenty to help the team, but their individual paths into the sport didn't indicate their success from the start.
Asked to a come-and-try day by a friend, in her first time on the court Steed ran with the ball from one end to the other and Stevens wanted to play because her sister, Jacquelyn, won a trophy and she wanted one too.
Both journeys very different, but thankfully they have ended at WIN Stadium.
Steed said her height (198cm) was not the main thing she wanted to bring to the team but an attitude that might inspire her teammates: "I'll try to keep my girls motivated when they're down. I'll keep pushing them," she said.
While Steed will hopefully give the Bears the right attitude, Stevens is aiming to give the team the drive it needs and the 160cm-point guard said her role was well-defined.
"We don't have a true point guard and I want to be that presence of a point guard," Stevens said.
"I want to be that leader and help mentor the youth like I was five years ago when I started college."
The starting five will be very different to the one that lost to Southwest two weeks ago. D'Lesha Lloyd and Kylie Giles will enjoy having Steed and Stevens and Caitlin Clancy, who has also returned from the USA.
Where the Bears have a different line up the Bulls will be the same, but coach Darryn Roche wants an improved defensive performance from his players.
The Bulls Southwest were blasted off the court in the second half and a win is all that will impress Roche.