CELEBRATING the wonderful women and rising star girls, the 2018 Basketball Victoria Women in Basketball Luncheon was held today at Leonda on the Yarra.
The Women in Basketball initiative was initially designed as a forum for women from within the Victorian Basketball community to get together, form networks, inspire one another, and thank the women involved in the sport for their time, expertise and dedication.
Bringing together elite athletes, administrators, referees and volunteers, the Women in Basketball Luncheon, hosted by Megan Hustwaite, proved a phenomenal success with plenty of special guests including Nova Peris OAM, former Australian Senator and Olympic Games gold medalist, Basketball Victoria Wall of Fame member Nat Porter and Basketball Victoria Legend and Life Member Betty Watson OAM.
Awarded for their incredible efforts across the year were our Girls Got Game Award winner and Advancing Women in Basketball Award recipient.
This year’s Girls Got Game Award went to Emily Attard from the Melton Basketball Association, awarded to her for her hard work setting up programs for differently abled players at her association.
The Advancing Women in Basketball Award for 2018 went to Amanda Wheaton from Yarrawonga Mulwala Basketball Association, recognising her contributions to her association over numerous years. Amanda is a women of many talents as the president, coach, referee and volunteer. She is a key contributor and advocate in developing YMBA domestic junior girls competition, is a passionate coach of girls domestic and U16 girls representative teams and is an active referee within the girls competition and also referee coach and mentor to female green shirt referees.
As well as being key contributor to Yarrawonga Mulwala Basketball Association, she has three children and amazingly runs her own business as well. Wheaton is a prime example of how women often juggle many things in their lives and still achieve amazing things for a community and a basketball association.
Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the event, and the amazing work done behind the scenes by all women across our sport, were a credit to basketball’s commitment to female sport.
“I am very proud to be here today and represent an organisation that continues to lead the way in inclusion and gender equity,” Honey said. “Basketball is one of the few sports that, for over 50 years, has offered opportunity for females to participate alongside their male counterparts.
“We have a number of women in the room today who have played a major part in basketball’s evolution and have paved the way for many generations of Victorian girls and women to participate in our great sport.
“To get a silver medal and be ranked number two in the world at the FIBA World Cup this week is a phenomenal effort, especially to have six Victorians – Liz Cambage, Jenna O’Hea, Alanna Smith, Bec Allen, Ezi Magbegor and Tessa Lavey – playing a major role in the Opals success.
“We have arguably the best female talent suiting up in the WNBL, WNBA and European leagues, as well as a number of our state and national under age athletes performing so well on the international stage.
“At a community level, we have inclusive programs and pathways for all of our junior participants to achieve their full potential and our 160 Victorian associations do an incredible job to ensure that all participants are given the opportunity to be a part of a basketball community in Victoria.
“The Women in Basketball Luncheon is an important event to celebrate the achievements, triumphs and contributions of our female athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and valued volunteers who improve our sport every day.
“The MUVJBLs Girls Got Game program assists in growing the profile of girl’s participation, and to reduce the drop-out rate across various age groups and abilities. We are lucky to have a few of the Girls Got Game round winners present today.”
Basketball Victoria also officially launched our Indigenous artwork at the Women in Basketball Luncheon.
“We are also launching our Indigenous Australian artwork created by Victorian Aboriginal artist Gary Saunders, and will provide an overview of the work we are undertaking to establish welcoming environments for Victorian Indigenous peoples to Victorian basketball,” Honey said.