Bevilaqua Heads Signing of Aussie Pair

News Release | February 23, 2005
Indiana Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf has announced the free agent signing of Australian natives Tully Bevilaqua (bev-el-AH-qua) and Katrina Hibbert. They are the first native Australians to be signed by Indiana during its six-year history.

Bevilaqua, a 5-7 point guard, is a six-year WNBA veteran whose savvy playmaking was instrumental in leading the Seattle Storm to the 2004 WNBA Championship. Hibbert is a former college star at Louisiana State who played one season in the WNBA, also at Seattle, in 2000 under current Fever assistant coach Lin Dunn. Per club policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Said Krauskopf, “One of my goals this offseason was to sign a veteran point guard who brought energy, leadership and toughness to our team. Not only is Tully a six-year veteran of the league, she also brings an understanding of competing at the highest level after playing an integral role in last season’s WNBA Championship.”

Bevilaqua played the past two seasons in Seattle under former Fever coach Anne Donovan, and was the starting point guard and floor leader for the WNBA’s Portland franchise from 2000-02. A former member of the Australian National Team, Bevilaqua has made her trademark with energetic play and aggressive defense. In 2004 for instance, her 4.3 steals per 40 minutes were the best mark in the WNBA.

Bevilaqua's save of a loose ball was indicative of her play in Seattle's WNBA Finals victory over Connecticut.
Otto Greule Jr./NBAE/Getty
Seattle’s principle point guard behind All-Star Sue Bird the past two seasons, Bevilaqua’s spark and leadership was perhaps evidenced most during Game 2 of Seattle’s 2004 playoff series with Minnesota when Bird left the game in the first half with a broken nose. Bevilaqua responded by playing 27 minutes while posting nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals – all without a turnover.

She also shot a career-best 42.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc during Seattle’s 2004 championship run – she has shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range through six seasons. She averaged 10.5 minutes per game last season overall, with 2.3 points and 0.9 assists per game. Playing extended minutes in September, she was one of the Storm’s most consistent players while raising her scoring average (3.6) and shooting 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

Hibbert, a 5-10 combo guard, was recently selected as the MVP of the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) in Australia – the same league in which current WNBA star Lauren Jackson was a four-time MVP. Hibbert played at LSU from 1997-00, and averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists as a senior. She played 20 games for Seattle during the 2000 WNBA season, averaging 12 minutes and 2.7 points. She scored the first basket in Storm history.

Hibbert was signed to a training camp contract after leading Bulleen Melbourne with 19.4 points in 2004-05. She led the WNBL in free throw percentage (90.9) and was third in scoring. She was the runner-up to Jackson for the 2004 MVP award.

Bevilaqua and Hibbert are the third and fourth Fever players signed during the league’s free agency signing period which began Feb. 1.

The Fever opens training camp on April 24 and begins the 2005 schedule hosting consecutive home games in May. Indiana hosts the Charlotte Sting on Sunday, May 22 (6:00 p.m.), and the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday, May 24 (7:00 p.m.). For season ticket information, call (317) 917-2500.