Kristi wins bronze in her Opals farewell

BENDIGO basketball star Kristi Harrower will remember her final Olympics campaign with fond memories, after winning an emotional bronze medal match against Russia yesterday.

In what was her last match as an Opal, Harrower was mobbed by team-mates on the buzzer as Australia celebrated an 83-74 win.

The pint-sized point guard struggled to hold back tears as she was raised on the shoulders of fellow veterans Suzy Batkovic and Lauren Jackson.

In the grandstand, proud parents Bernie and Janice Harrower also shed a tear.

Speaking to the Bendigo Advertiser from his London hotel at 4am, Bernie rated the win as one of the highlights of his daughter’s career.

“She’s won three silver medals before, but you have to lose the match to win silver. This time they had to go out and win the match to win a medal and I think that makes it more rewarding,” he said.

“It was an amazing match; Kristi performed so well.”

The 37-year-old is now retired from international duties, but Bernie said Kristi would likely play on for the Bendigo Spirit in the upcoming Women’s National Basketball League season.

“We’ll give her a couple of weeks to recover and think about it, but I’m quietly confident she’ll play one more season,” said Bernie, who is the head coach of the Spirit.

“She’s got her body in terrific shape – she did a lot of work between the last Spirit game and the Olympics – and we’d love to give her a farewell season.”

Proving age shall not weary her, Harrower scored 21 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished off four assists in the bronze medal match. 

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