Thursday, March 1, 2018

One of Australian basketball’s brightest stars is returning to Kilsyth, with two-time league MVP and Australian Opal Steph Blicavs (nee Cumming) signing with the Lady Cobras for the 2018 SEABL season.

Blicavs was a certified superstar for the Lady Cobras during the 2015 and 2016 SEABL seasons, winning back-to-back SEABL Most Valuable Player awards and leading Kilsyth to back-to-back conference championships in the process.

In her final season with Kilsyth, Blicavs led the team in scoring (22.3ppg), assists (3.0apg) and three-pointers made (2.0 3PM), and finished second in the league for free throw shooting (87.8 FT%). Blicavs topped the 30 point mark on three occasions, including a season’s-best 36 points (to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists) in a win over Geelong, and is looking forward to lighting up opposing SEABL defences once again in 2018.

“I’m really excited to be returning to Kilsyth this season,” Blicavs said.

“I kept a close eye on the team during my time-off last season and am really happy to be back on court with the girls.”

Blicavs bypassed the 2017 season due to a number of commitments; she married longtime partner, Kris Blicavs, and was busy playing starring role for the Dandenong Rangers in the WNBL.

Blicavs led the Rangers and finished fifth in the WNBL in scoring (15.1ppg), ranked second on the team for assists (3.6apg) and shot a league-best 93 percent from the foul line.

The two-time WNBL champion was also crowned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, proving that she is in fact one of Australia’s premier two-way players.

Lady Cobras coach Sam Woosnam is thrilled to have Blicavs back at Kilsyth for the season ahead, and with the electrifying guard back on board, the team again looks like a national championship contender.

“Who wouldn’t be happy about having a two-time SEABL MVP back?” Woosnam said.

“We won two Conference Championships with Steph leading our team, and that in itself speaks volumes about what she brings to our group.

“Her competitiveness, intensity and her ability to make her teammates better are invaluable. Overall she’s a great person to have around the club.”

While Blicavs led Kilsyth to two consecutive conference championships, the Lady Cobras ultimately fell just short in the SEABL Grand Final on both occasions, a result the Opal is determined to flip in 2018.

“I’m hoping to finish what we started before my break,” Blicavs added.

“Losing those two Grand Finals only makes us as a team more determined to put ourselves in the same position and come out with a different result this year.”

Blicavs has joined the Lady Cobras for the team’s preseason campaign, and is currently a member of the Australian Opals squad that will compete at the Commonwealth Games in April and the 2018 Basketball World Cup in Spain during late September.

With Blicavs now signed, the Lady Cobras now boast arguably the league’s best duo, with Blicavs (2015-16) and Cobras centre Angela Beadle (2017) accounting for the league’s past three MVP awards.

Blicavs will re-unite with former All-SEABL forward Jasmine Gill, 300 game great Sarah Parsons, ‘3-and-D’ specialist Rosie Moult, and point guard Jenna Verhoef-Jenkins, with the quintet playing a vital role in the Lady Cobras 2015 and 2016 conference titles.