Canberra Capitals player Abby Bishop hopes to step up on the n Opals tour of Brazil this week. Photo: Jeffrey ChanOlympic Games hopeful Abby Bishop admits she’ll have to take her game to a new level to slot back into international basketball when she suits up for the n Opals for the first time in two years.
Bishop and Canberra Capitals teammate Stephanie Talbot left on Sunday to fly to Brazil for an Olympic test event in Rio as they push their claims for Opals selection.
It’s a chance for the Opals to show there’s light at the end of the tunnel if ‘s greatest female basketballer, Lauren Jackson, fails to recover from injury in time to play at a fifth Olympics.
But the journey is equally as tough for Bishop as she prepares to play her first game for the Opals since withdrawing from ‘s world championship campaign over a controversial childcare policy.
Bishop will leave daughter Zala in Canberra with a nanny as she attempts to reignite her international career.
“I’ve played in the WNBA [in the United States] which is a level up from the WNBL, so hopefully that helps me a bit,” Bishop said.
“But being away from that international standard for a couple of years means I’m definitely going to have to take it up a notch a little bit.
“I probably won’t realise how much that is until we get over there and start playing. [Coach] Brendan [Joyce] plays a very different style to what I was used to in the Opals.
“I’ve been working on my fitness to hopefully get back in there and fit in again.”
Jackson and her management are expected to make a statement this week about the four-time Olympian’s latest injury setback and her hopes of playing at Rio.
Joyce is giving players a chance to step up at the test event, with the Opals to play against Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela over two days.
“Everyone in the post has a chance to show what they can do and Brendan will be looking at what we can do without Loz, just in case she’s not there,” Bishop said.
The trip to Brazil is also a chance for Bishop and Talbot to breakthrough for their first win of what has turned out to be a WNBL disaster with the Capitals.
The Capitals have lost all 17 games this season so far and are languishing at the bottom of the ladder in the worst season in the club’s history.
They don’t play again until Bishop and Talbot return, and the pair hopes Opals victories spark a winning feeling.
“It’s nice to be back in the national program … hopefully it’s good for [Bishop and Talbot’s] confidence if we can get a win,” Bishop said.
“Everyone has said a win for us is a win for them. With all the losses we’ve had in Canberra, you can get down so we want to bring back some wins.”