Garrick has chance to grasp Olympic berth

By Tyler Maher

Maddie Garrick's path towards fulfilling her Olympic dream has crystallised.

The Shepparton basketball product and her Australian 3x3 teammates have snared the chance to qualify for next year's Tokyo Olympics after FIBA cleared up the qualification landscape last week.

Uncertainty surrounded the announcement due to the unique qualifying system employed for the 3x3 tournament, but, although Garrick and her teammates missed out on direct passage to the biggest stage of all, they are still in the hunt for a ticket to Tokyo.

“It's always been a dream of mine to represent Australia at the Olympic Games,” Garrick said.

“I guess I always thought that would be with the Opals, but any opportunity to play for Australia at the Olympics would be amazing.”

The Aussies will battle it out in India from March 18-22 with three of the 20 teams involved in the respective men's and women's sections set to stand tall at the Olympics when the dust settles.

The Pool draws have already been completed for the qualifying contest, with Iran, Japan, Ukraine and Turkmenistan joining Australia in Pool B.

Garrick's squad has faced and defeated Japan four times this year, but has not come up against any of the other trio in that same timeframe.

“We've been working hard and have had plenty of success, so it's great to see that being rewarded,” Garrick said.

“Our Pool looks pretty good for us and we've performed well against the teams that have auto-qualified as well, so hopefully we can do well again.”

Meanwhile, Garrick will continue her Women's National Basketball League season with the Melbourne Boomers.

The outfit — that she has stepped up to co-captain this summer — tasted its first defeat of the campaign on Monday night against Southside Flyers, but Garrick said fans could expect a swift response from the Purple and Gold when it takes on UC Capitals on Saturday night.

“A 4-1 start is amazing,” Garrick said.

“At the start of the season last year we were 0-2, so Cayla (fellow co-captain Cayla George) and I have spoken about the fact there's no need to hit the panic button.

“A loss early in the season is not too bad because it reminds us that we have to work hard for every win, but we didn't play our brand of basketball and we didn't play our best basketball.

“We're looking forward to fixing that this weekend and producing better basketball and, like always, we've had great support from all of our fans.”

Garrick is having a brilliant start to the season individually, shooting at a WNBL career-high (on more than 10 attempts) 45.5 per cent from outside the arc and 41.3 per cent from the field in total — her highest percentage as a Boomer.

More on Maddie Garrick's recent achievements

WNBL season preview

Greater Shepparton Sports Hall of Fame

Garrick has golden touch