Women’s National Basketball MVP Suzy Batkovic wants to help deliver north Queensland’s first national sporting title this weekend.
Another piece of sporting history is motivating Suzy Batkovic heading into Sunday’s WNBL grand final, after becoming the first player to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award three straight years.
The 192cm Townsville Fire centre and Opals stalwart looms as a pivotal figure in the Fire’s bid to win their first WNBL title on Sunday when they visit minor premiers and defending champions Bendigo.
Batkovic 33, stressed a Fire victory would be a landmark for north Queensland as a region and not just Townsville, who lost at Bendigo in last season’s grand final.
“No-one in north Queensland has won a (national sporting) title, with the (NRL) Cowboys or the (NBL) Crocs,” Batkovic told AAP.
“To be the first ones to have a run at trying to bring that title home would be pretty amazing and I guess with a bit of history there, getting three-time MVP, and then winning a championship, would be unbelievable.
“I’ve won six titles in total, four overseas and two here, but definitely to create history up here, would be just amazing.”
Batkovic won WNBL titles with the AIS in 1999 and Sydney in 2001 before heading overseas for eight years.
Batkovic played in the American WNBA, Spain, Russia, Italy and France, where she won a Euroleague title with Valencienne, before returning to Australia in 2009.
After winning the last two MVP awards while with Adelaide, Batkovic enjoyed another stellar season in her first campaign with Townsville.
She averaged 20.5 points, the second best in the competition, and led the league in rebounds (12.8 per game) and blocks (1.8 per game).
Batkovic notched double figures in all 26 of her games this season, double-doubling in points and rebounds in 20, including all of the last 12.
“I started off slow, my numbers weren’t probably at the standard that I like,” Batkovic said.
“But after having seven months off with a back injury, and needing to rest it, I guess that was always going to happen.
“I was just trying to find my feet and my standards as the season went on.”
A three-time Olympic medallist, Batkovic is hoping for a fourth Games campaign in Rio in two years’ time.
“If my body is feeling good, (I’ll) definitely try and give it a crack,” Batkovic said.