Capitals duo get hall of fame nod after 'inspirational' careers

Sport. 9th November 2015. From left, UC Capitals champion and record-holder Lucille Bailie and UC Capitals champion Jess Bibby.

The Canberra Times

Photo Jamila Toderas
Sport. 9th November 2015. From left, UC Capitals champion and record-holder Lucille Bailie and UC Capitals champion Jess Bibby. The Canberra Times Photo Jamila Toderas

Canberra Capitals legends Carrie Graf and Lucille Bailie will be inducted into the Basketball Australia hall of fame at an awards function in October.

The former Capitals coach and skipper will be part of a revived awards night as Basketball Australia looks to rebuild the game and recognise its past greats.

The Capitals are considering trying to lure Graf back into the inner sanctum this year to bolster their bid to end a WNBL finals drought.

Graf, the most successful mentor in WNBL history, stepped down at the end of the 2015-16 season to focus on family, but she is still considered a coaching guru.

Graf is also a former Australian Opals coach and a seven-time WNBL championship-winning leader.

WNBL games record holder and former Capitals skipper Jess Bibby praised the supercoach for helping save her career and hoped Graf would make a coaching comeback in the future.

"I owe everything to Graffy. The most influential person in my career is Carrie Graf," Bibby said.

Carrie Graf and Jess Bibby.

Carrie Graf and Jess Bibby. Photo: Jay Cronan

"It's an absolute no-brainer that Graffy was going to enter the hall of fame at the first available opportunity.

"I liken her to a Wayne Bennett as a coach, she has the amazing ability to inspire and teach. I hope she's not lost to the coaching caper. I hope she finds the juice again to come back.

"There isn't anyone like her, there will never be anyone like her. I'm sure a lot of people have tried to be like her, but nobody has got close."

Graf and Bailie will join former players Kristi Harrower, Karen Blicavs and Troy Sachs as well as administrator Ken Madsen as hall of fame inductees.

Bailie is equal second on the all-time games list behind Bibby after playing 377 matches for Nunawading, Dandenong and Canberra.

Graf recruited Bailie to Canberra and appointed her as captain, leading the Capitals to titles in 2002 and 2003.

Bibby started her career with Bailee in 1996 before overtaking her WNBL games record in the twilight of her career.

"It gives you goose bumps because Luc is someone who didn't go to an Olympics but she was an amazing player and was probably part of the best team of all time at Nunawading," Bibby said.

"She was an amazing leader, she's had such a profound influence that she's someone I look up to enormously and it's so well deserved."

The Capitals will start their WNBL season with a clash against the Bendigo Spirit at the National Convention Centre on October 6.

Basketball Australia has reinstated its annual awards event on October 27, which will include hall of fame inductees and the presentation of four major prizes for Australia's best players.

This story Capitals duo get hall of fame nod after 'inspirational' careers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.