Bevilaqua Named to Australian Olympic Team
Nearly 36 years old (July 19) and playing in her 10th WNBA season, Indiana Fever star Tully Bevilaqua has been named for the first time to the Australian Olympic Women’s Basketball Team.
A native Australian from rural Merredin in Western Australia, the 5-7 point guard has often been overlooked as a member of the Australian National Team. She trained with the Opals prior to the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, but the first time that she represented her country in international competition was when Australia won the gold medal at the 2006 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“It was a bit of a relief,” Bevilaqua said about the moment she knew she had been named a member of her country’s Olympic team, June 28, when Australian Coach Jan Sterling attended the Fever’s game in Houston. “You know, I shed a tear when I finally got the nod approval. For me, it was never a done deal. I was always fighting for my spot. Now it’s excitement.”
Bevilaqua has played in the Australian pro league (WNBL) during almost every season since 1991, and she has played in the WNBA since 1998 when given her first opportunity with the Cleveland Rockers. She was an annual award-winner in the WNBL, retiring from the league last February as the league’s all-time leader in steals. She has been a three-time member of the WNBA’s All-Defensive Team.
But never had she represented her country in championship competition until 2006. Now, she will play in her first Olympics when Australian joins the United States and Russia as women’s basketball favorites next month in Beijing, China.
“When I was a kid,” she added, “just to make a team in our national pro league was the biggest thing that I wanted to achieve. Never in my wildest dreams was I thinking of playing in the Olympics. I’m obviously thrilled and proud and excited.”
Currently averaging 5.5 points per game for the Fever, and leading Indiana with 31 steals, she joins Seattle Storm All-Star and defending WNBA Most Valuable Player Lauren Jackson on the 12-player Australian roster. Of the 12 Aussies named to its Olympic roster, eight are currently or formerly in the WNBA.
Bevilaqua and the Fever, 8-8, host the Connecticut Sun at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday evening (7:00 p.m.). Led by WNBA All-Stars Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown, the Fever bids for its first WNBA Finals appearance after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in two of the past three seasons. Tickets are available at FeverBasketball.com.