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Lightning coup as Blicavs makes move

MAC Adelaide Lightning have scored their first major recruiting coup with Opals’ Commonwealth Games Gold Medal-winner and FIBA Asia Cup Silver Medallist Stephanie Blicavs joining the club for 2018-19.

Blicavs, 27 and a 178cm off-guard/small forward, was a free agent after spending the past three seasons with Jayco Dandenong Rangers where she started her career as a junior.

The WNBL’s Best Defensive Player in 2016, Blicavs (nee Cumming), is a dual-championship winner, having won her first WNBL crown with Dandenong in 2012.

At Adelaide, she rejoins coach Chris Lucas with whom she won her second WNBL championship in 2015 as a key contributor on his Townsville Fire team.

That same year she led Kilsyth Cobras to the SEABL Grand Final and was named league MVP.

Last year she shared the Rangers’ MVP award with sister-in-law Sara Blicavs before winning it outright for the 2018 season.

Blicavs reunites with former Dandenong captain and Lightning playmaker Aimee Clydesdale in Adelaide, the club undergoing something of a revamp losing free agents including 2017-18 captain Abby Bishop, Canadian centre Ruth Hamblin and back-up guard Vanessa Panoussis.

The future of injured American swingman Natalie Novosel also is clouded after she suffered an ACL tear late in the 2017-18 season. Usually a 12-month injury, she appears unlikely to be part of the 2018-19 rotation.

Club MVP and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist with the Opals, Nicole Seekamp, and the Lightning’s Best Defensive Player award winner, Lauren Nicholson, also will be back for the 2018-19 campaign, as will forward Colleen Planeta.

Blicavs (pictured below playing for the Opals) averaged 15.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.6apg and 1.3spg and shot at a remarkable 93 per cent from the free throw line last season.

She enjoyed a 29-point, 7-rebound, 5-assists tour de force against Canberra, which also has enjoyed a busy off-season, signing 196cm Opals centre Marianna Tolo

Tolo, 28, currently is rehabbing a torn ACL she suffered at the Opals training camp in Italy earlier this year.

It quickly ended her season with Turkish club Abdullah Gul Universitesi and while she vigilantly is working at the Australian Institute of Sport to return to full fitness, how much she plays alongside other big Caps signees Leilani Mitchell and Kelsey Griffin remains to be seen.

Apr 30

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