Batkovic hits 200 with eyes on Rio

IT is Suzy Batkovic’s lone regret in a Women’s National Basketball League career that will tonight deliver another major milestone, her 200th game.

If only the proud Novocastrian had been able to play for her home-town team.

‘‘Home is where the heart is, always,’’ Batkovic told the Newcastle Herald yesterday.

‘‘It would have been amazing to play for Newcastle in the WNBL, but unfortunately it’s never happened.

‘‘It’s a little bit disappointing, because I love Newcastle, and it would have been really nice to be able to play in front of my family and friends.   But it is what it is and I don’t dwell on it. Hopefully some day other Novocastrians will get that opportunity.’’

Batkovic already rates as one of the all-time greats of Australian basketball and the 32-year-old has no intention of resting on her laurels.

After registering her double century tonight, playing for Adelaide Lightning against Dandenong Rangers, she will set her sights on winning another championship, to go with the titles she won with the AIS (1998-99) and  Sydney Flames (2000-01).

‘‘I think we’re good contenders and we’ve got a really good chance of succeeding this year,’’ she said of third-placed Adelaide.

Batkovic was proud to reach game 200, especially ‘‘considering I’ve been out of the country for maybe eight years or so’’ playing professionally in the US, Russia, Italy and France.

The three-time Olympian, who starred in Australia’s London bronze-medal campaign last year, said the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games were a distant but definite goal. 

‘‘The key to that is my body,’’ she said. ‘‘Three years is a long time and I just have to take it season at a time.

‘‘But if I’m feeling good and playing well, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t give it another crack.’’

Reflecting on her WNBL career, which started at the AIS in 1996 and has included stints with Sydney, Townsville, Sydney Uni Flames, Canberra Capitals and Adelaide, Batkovic  said her fondest memories were of winning titles and last season’s league MVP trophy.

‘‘Honestly, it’s gone in the blink of an eye,’’ she said.

‘‘I look back on things and think, ‘Oh my God, that was a while ago’. I guess while living in the moment of your career, and you’re achieving all different things along the way, you don’t realise it’s all going really quickly.’’

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