In an Australian television interview posted on Youtube, Storm reserve Abby Bishop said she’s not returning to Seattle for the 2011 season in order to increase her chances to play for the Opals Olympic team.
“I’ve decided to stay in Australia and focus on London,” said Bishop of the 2012 Games. “I know it’s a year away, maybe over a year away now. But for me, it’s about staying here and showing myself to the coaches where if I’m going back to America, it’s going to be a little bit harder, not playing. So solely my focus is making that London team.”
After the Opals’ disappointing finish in the FIBA World Championships in October, coach Carrie Graf blamed lack of training together and questioned whether any of the Aussie players should be playing overseas. That talk has quietened, but Bishop, a budding 6-foot-3 forward, is playing in her native WNBL and could have been convinced that staying in Australia is best for her future.
As a rookie in the WNBA, Bishop averaged 6.8 minutes in 16 games off the bench. Her only quality minutes came toward the end of the season when coach Brian Agler rested the starters after securing the overall top seed for the playoffs. Bishop averaged 2.8 points and 1.3 rebounds during the regular season, but did not play in the Storm’s championship run. She suffered a concussion in practice during the WNBA Finals.
Three-time MVP Lauren Jackson said she will return to the Storm, currently in Australia to rehabilitate a foot injury. Aussies Erin Phillips and Belinda Snell, who won silver with Jackson at the 2008 Olympics, are signed to Storm training-camp contracts while countrywoman Alison Lacey, a rookie PG in 2010, is undecided about her return.
Agler previously stated all of the Aussies would be in camp, adding that he’s not trying to form a WNBA version of the Opals. “I don’t even see them as Australian,” he said after signing Phillips and Snell.
He liked the way the players competed against his teams in the WNBA and wants to see if they can fill vacant spots by key reserves Jana Vesela and Svetlana Abrosimova. Both aren’t returning due to national team commitments, although Agler mentioned Abrosimova could late in the season.
The coach envisioned Bishop getting an opportunity to fill the void, too, but now he’ll have to look elsewhere.