"GIVEN an opportunity and proven myself."
Those are the words rising WNBL star Shyla Heal used to sum up her season to date with the Bendigo Spirit.
The 18-year-old's season - and likely her career - hit overdrive last Friday against the defending champion Canberra Capitals at Bendigo Stadium.
Heal produced undoubtedly her finest performance in the national league, scoring 24 points and hauling in eight rebounds, as the Spirit made it back-to-back wins, with a 94-90 victory over the Caps.
Her game MVP-winning effort drew rave reviews.
"She was just awesome. She was an offensive threat for us against one of the top teams in the league," said four-time championship winning guard and team-mate Kelly Wilson.
"To be able to score so many points and contribute that much, she was definitely a major factor in us winning that game."
Heal's coach Tracy York was equally glowing in her praise.
"Shyla played the whole final quarter and scored 10 points... she was strong offensively and was great with her rebounds as well," she said.
"Shyla plays and trains the same way. She goes all out at training and goes all out in a game.
"Her mindset doesn't change. She's always tough. She works hard off the floor on her game."
As pleasing as her game was individually, Heal was just stoked to have contributed to a Spirit win.
"Personally it gives me a lot of confidence to keep going and finish off the season off strong, but in the end I was just happy our team got the win and I brought energy when I came off the bench," she said.
"Stats-wise I got my career high, but I want to keep things rolling from here."
Asked about her 10 point final quarter, Heal, who is averaging 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds this season, said finishing games strongly was a definite focus of hers.
Ahead of an away clash against the Perth Lynx this Sunday, the young guard is adopting a similar mental approach to the Spirit's final five games of the season and hoping for a strong finish.
"As a team and individually, everyone wants to show what they can do, but pride is a big thing," Heal said.
"We can cause trouble up in the top four and if we win some games we can make fifth place.
"(Our goal is to) finish off strong."
Heal's effort against the Caps earned her spot in the WNBL's team of the week.
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