The Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones have bolstered their championship stocks with one of the biggest signings of the QBL season to date, with news that Abby Bishop will be joining the Cyclones in their pursuit of a third straight title.
Bishop is one of the most decorated Australian female players in the game. As an Australian Opal, a bronze medal winning Olympian, a WNBA Championship winner with the Seattle Storm, and a WNBL league MVP, Bishop will bring a wealth of experience to the Cyclones program.
Bishop is set to meet the team in Brisbane this weekend for their crucial two game road trip against Toowoomba and Ipswich, and Coach Chris Muggeridge can’t wait to get her into the line-up. “We knew both Abby and Shanavia (Dowdell) would be late arrivals due to their existing commitments, so the first couple of games of the season were always going to be tough” Muggeridge said. “Now that we are getting closer to completing our roster, I’m pretty confident that we can build some momentum for the rest of the season” he continued.
During her last season in the WNBL, Bishop lead the league in both scoring (23 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg). With that level of dominance against the best players in Australia, it’s hard to know just what to expect from Bishop as she comes back a level to the QBL, although Coach Muggeridge is clear on what he is looking for. “We know Abby is going to do some amazing things stats wise, but what’s just as important for us is her leadership and contribution to our group culture. We’ve been in regular communication ever since we first reached out to Abby, and her influence on the team even from a distance, is already noticeable” said Muggeridge.
For her part, Bishop is looking forward to returning to Rockhampton, after playing with the Cyclones in 2009. “It’s so good to finally get back. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I was close a couple of times, but timelines and other commitments just didn’t allow for it” she explained. “The community is fantastic. I made so many friends that I’ve continued to stay in touch with, so I’m looking forward to reconnecting with them.”
Despite dropping their first two games of the season, Coach Muggeridge believes the Frenchville Sports Club Cyclones are still well poised to leave their mark on the competition. “There is a real depth in the Women’s league this year. Whilst that means that we’ll have tougher games than in previous years, it also means that upsets around the league are more likely” he explained.
Another positive factor for the Cyclones is changes made by Basketball Queensland to the 2017 finals structure; moving to a top eight system as opposed to a pools system. “That should mean making the finals is a little bit easier this year. We just need to make sure that we’re firing at the right end of the season” said Muggeridge.
Rockhampton locals will get their first chance of seeing Bishop play when the Cyclones take on another title contender in the Townsville Flames at Hegvold Stadium in two week’s time.