By Kasey Cornwell
Joy has returned to Ballarat this week, fresh from her extraordinary performance for Chinese Taipei at the FIBA Asia Cup.
Joy of course, wanted Taipei to make top 4 to be able to make it to Spain next year for the world cup. “I think with the team, it was all just about developing that on court chemistry and just knowing how to play together.”
Because you could see early on in many games, just defensively many breakdowns and on offense, some poor decision making and a whole different style of basketball, explained Joy. Her and the team were able to stay focused and positive, “when you play 6 games in 7 days so there is really not a lot of time to put your head down, you have to bounce back” said Joy.
The Chinese Taipei team trained for about two months before Joy joined, so she was required to slot into their game plans. “I think it was just challenging to adjust to that style” said Joy, but one she was happy to take on.
Joy’s height was a rare sight on the Chinese Taipei team, it took the team some time to adjust to her, and to work out how to get the ball to her! Joy took it as a challenge, noting she needed to create her chances differently on court with Chinese Taipei and was able to experiment with new aspects of her game.
After being 0 – 9 early in the season, the way the Ballarat Rush have turned their season around, is a huge achievement. Burke said it was a massive accomplishment, there was no changes to the line-up “we figured it out together how we were going to get it done and how to give more and sacrifice and just really what it takes to become a team, that’s been really special to see that happening”, said Joy.
Joy couldn’t help herself, never being far from her phone to check on the Rush scores and statistics. She was so excited, after reading all of the results, with 4 wins whilst she was away.
“Because that was the number one thing that kept me from not wanting to go, just knowing our play off potential and just the way the team has been playing, for the past month or so. I don’t want to sabotage that, I don’t want to leave them!” said Joy.
And to see the way they’ve come together and stepped up – just everyone’s contributing in such big ways, is fantastic said Joy. “I am so proud of them, I am so proud of the girls. It couldn’t be a better result”.
Rebounding was a huge focus upon Joy’s absence from the team, as she is sitting at number 2 in the league for rebounds.
Joy was so impressed, “Jaterra Bonds getting great rebounds, it’s just a tremendous effort and its heart”. Sometimes when they know I’m not around, it causes them to have to go a get the ball more and that’s a great thing. I’m super proud, said Joy.
Obviously there is a lot of exciting things happening here in Ballarat, with the funding for the new stadium and the great things that are happening here. I want to see the fruit of it, I want to see the success, the hard work paying off and I know the team has made tremendous improvements this year but what will happen if we can continue to build on it, noted Joy.
If Joy was to return to the Rush in 2018, “I would want to set the tone right away and start getting after it, so that by the end it is pretty clear that we are in a good position for finals.”