Our “kiwi girl” is already playing in Australia, but she was happy to send us her thoughts about her rookie year and her experience in Budapest
It’s been your rookie year – what expectations did you have when you arrived in Hungary and were they fulfilled by the end of the season?
As it was my rookie year I didn’t really have any expectations. I knew that the basketball was going to be tough, and it would take me some time to adjust, but I think I did that by the end of the season.
Looking from outside, your performance has improved a lot by the end of the season. How did you see that, what have you developed in the most?
Like I said, I knew it would take me some time to adjust so I think being patient and continuously working hard to understand how we each play on the court was important. It took us some time to learn all of our strengths and weaknesses in order to get the best out of each other in games. Everyone could see that by the end of season our team chemistry had improved a lot. And our results were showing this. For me personally teams started realizing shooting was my biggest strength so I couldn’t keep relying on that and I had to expand my game, cutting, some posting up, dribble pull ups, things like that to keep the defenders on their toes helped me contribute more to the wins.
What have you learnt as a player and as a person in this season?
I learned that European basketball is different to the styles of basketball I have played in New Zealand, and America. I learned that when times are tough, and games may not be going the way we want them too, that is when we need to work harder as a team and find a way to fight through that. As a person I learned that I can survive living in a non-English speaking foreign country. I learned what most foods were in the stores even though I couldn’t read the labels. Although most people I encountered did speak some English, others really good English, and some none at all, I managed to get by on my own and with the help of some teammates and members of the club. Specifically, Nusi translating Bubu’s coaching for us, and Adam, Maci, and, Vani being available all the time to answer all the random questions I had for them. So thank you to them!
How did you feel yourself in the team and in Budapest generally?
All the girls in the team are super nice, and made it very difficult to leave. I didn’t think it was going to be so sad saying goodbye to them all, but it was. I hope to see everyone again soon in the future as I still don’t know what my plans are for next year after Australia yet. I loved Budapest, it is a beautiful city and I made a lot of friends in Budapest that I will have for life. These friends definitely made my time there special and one I will never forget.
What is the most memorable game for you from the season and why? And the best memory from outside court?
I think my most memorable game would be our OT win against Vasas. We hadn’t had a win in so long, and we fought so hard till the very end to get the result we wanted. My best memory from off the court would be celebrating the end of our season with the whole team over some wine.
Is there anything you would like to change about this season if you could? Anything you regretted?
I think there were a few games that we should have won. I think we could have made top 8 which would have been an awesome experience. But ending on 7 wins in a row was an awesome feeling too so I wouldn’t say I have any regrets.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now I am playing in Australia for the next four months. I hope to make the New Zealand Olympic team this year and go to the qualifying games with them next year, and obviously would love to go to the Olympics if I do make the team and qualify. If I don’t, I want to keep playing, whether that is in Europe again or Australia I do not know yet.
Is there anything you would like to say to our fans?
Thank you all for being so supportive and accepting of me as a foreign player, and the team as we tried our best to play some entertaining games for you all. Although I had no idea what most of you were chanting and cheering during games, I still felt the love and support one hundred percent.