Madeleine Garrick has described returning to play basketball in Bendigo as coming back to “where my heart is”.
The Champions IGA Lady Braves enticed Garrick back to Bendigo for her debut SEABL season this year, with the move bringing her closer to her parents who are still in her hometown, Shepparton, and her brother in Melbourne.
She is now set to rejoin the Bendigo Bank Spirit – where she began her WNBL career in 2009-10 – after spending the past two seasons in Canberra with the AIS.
Spirit coach Bernie Harrower always intended for her to come back to play for the club and – although Garrick is yet to put pen to paper – she wants to get back into the Spirit fold.
“To be honest I didn’t really know anything about the WNBL before I came and started training with the Spirit,” Garrick said.
“Coming back to a familiar training environment and having the opportunity to come back to an offer like that was really good.
“Anywhere for an opportunity to get a bit of playing time is my main priority at the moment and Bendigo seem to be able to at least have that on the cards.”
Daily training at the AIS helped the former Australia under-19 player develop her game and Garrick has no regrets about her time in Canberra.
“Having the quality of training and coaching every single day, for me it’s the best thing I’ve done for my basketball in my life,” Garrick said.
She hopes the Spirit will help her find more ways to score against top-class women and, ultimately, fulfil her goal of competing at an Olympic Games.
“Now it’s my first real season outside the AIS, kind of in the real world doing your own thing, so I guess (I need to make) a name for myself in the SEABL to start with and then cultivating something in the WNBL,” she said.
“The main thing I need to work on now is developing my offensive game again, getting it back.
“Just getting to the basket, different ways to score and defensively things that let me down now and then.”
Garrick played her best game for the Lady Braves two weeks ago against Launceston when she sunk 24 points to go with 14 rebounds and two assists.
Her role as another attacking option alongside regular top-scorers Renae Camino and Mia Newley will be important if the Lady Braves are to challenge for the east conference title.
The Lady Braves are in third place and can go a long way to securing a home final with a win at fourth-placed Sandringham’s home court on Saturday night.