This article was originally published on wais.org. Read the original article here.
From the outdoor courts in the WA Wheatbelt town of Merredin, Tully Bevilaqua (Crook) took her game to the very pinnacle of her sport.
A key member of Australia’s Women’s Basketball team over many years, Bevilaqua was part of the Opals team that won Australia’s first senior Basketball title – the Gold Medal at the 2006 World Championships.
She also was part of the Opals side that won a Silver Medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Gold Medal at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Bevilaqua made her last appearance for the Opals when she was 38.
After an impressive career in the WNBL, Bevilaqua was at first regarded as too short and not athletic enough to play in the WNBA, and her initial stint in the United States saw her cut after just 12 games.
But the perseverance, determination and toughness, gained from battling her brothers in backyard football matches as a young girl saw her earn a second chance three years later.
She made the most of the opportunity.
Bevilaqua played for 14 years in the WNBA, winning the 2004 Championship with Seattle Storm. She played a key role of playoff teams with the Indiana Fever from 2005-2010. In total, she played 449 games notching more than 1,900 points.
Bevilaqua was known for her ability to execute steals and she is one of the rare WNBA players to record 800 career assists and 500 career steals. She is a six-time member of the WNBA All-Defensive team.
Bevilaqua also took out the prestigious Kim Perrot Sportsmanship award in 2007, an annual WNBA award given to the player who most exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.