AUSTRALIAN Opals star Abby Bishop has played her last game for the Rockhampton Hog's Breath Cafe Cyclones in this year's QBL.
The second-placed Cyclones were yesterday rocked by the announcement Bishop will miss the rest of the 2009 QBL season with a shoulder injury, which requires surgery.
The announcement has dealt the Cyclones' title aspirations a severe blow ahead of this weekend's tough round 13 QBL northern road trip, starting in Mackay tonight.
The 20-year-old Opals forward/centre said yesterday it was “extremely disappointing” to be ending her debut season in the QBL with the Cyclones on the sidelines.
“It is an extremely disappointing way to finish the season with the Cyclones, however, I am confident that the girls can regroup and acknowledge the job ahead and respond accordingly,” Bishop said.
“They have five regular season games to go and finals are still the goal without question.”
Bishop, who has averaged 27.9 points and 14.1 rebounds per game for the Cyclones, said she would miss playing at Hegvold Stadium and did not rule out a return in 2010.
“I have enjoyed playing in front of the Rockhampton crowd - it was everything I was told it would be and then some,” she said.
“It is fantastic to see the city support the Cyclones and the Rockets they way they do - basketball in Rockhampton is well supported and I genuinely hope that I get the opportunity to play in front of them again.”
Bishop sustained the shoulder injury at practice last week, which resulted in her sitting out of the Cyclones' 93-75 loss to the Gladstone Port City Power at Hegvold Stadium last Saturday night.
Rockhampton Basketball operations manger Jamie Boon said yesterday X-ray and MRI results this week confirmed the bad news.
“While we are extremely disappointed that Abby will not be able to play the remainder of the season, we also feel for her given she is in the middle of Opals preparations for next year's world championships,” Boon said.
“Her presence will be missed in games without doubt - let's face it she is one of the top-five players out of the WNBL.
“With that being said though we have players in our team that will need to step up to the plate.
“We are at the business end of the year and realistically our season starts today with the confirmed loss of Abby.”
Cyclones coach Kevin Bolck yesterday agreed Bishop's injury setback was a major loss but was confident in other girls stepping up in her absence.
“We've competed really well without Abby previously,” Bolck said.
“We've just got to get the players to step-up and if we do that we'll give Mackay and Townsville a hurry up (this weekend).
“If we play to our potential there's no reason why we can't win both games.”