CALLED UP: Port City Power point guard Natalie Hurst has been training with the Australian women’s squad this week.
CALLED UP: Port City Power point guard Natalie Hurst has been training with the Australian women’s squad this week.

Hurst called up to training camp

WHILE her team-mates have been focusing on the upcoming finals weekend, a Port City Power player has been plying her trade with the country's best basketballers.

Natalie Hurst got the call-up late last week from out of the blue to join the Australian women's basketball squad training for the World Championships.

After the call came from Australian coach Carrie Graf, she was straight on a plane to Melbourne.

The squad is in its final preparations and a few injuries to players saw Hurst brought into the squad of 20.

Hurst is the heartbeat of the Port City Power women's team, and her call-up didn't surprise Port City Power coach Jessica Bibby, who is all too aware of the point guard's talent.

Bibby said the training opportunity was wonderful recognition for Hurst, whose rise up the basketball ranks didn't happen due to an armchair ride.

“She's the ACT kid, the late developer,” Bibby said.

“The ones ahead of her for some years were metropolitan kids who came through the system.”

In Bibby's opinion, Hurst is the best basketballer in the QBL competition.

“She's the most valuable player in the league by a street. It's not about scoring the most points. She scores, she rebounds, she defends, she creates for other people, if that's not being the best player, then I'm not quite sure what the definition is,” the coach said.

She was named in the squad last year, toured Europe and played in the Oceania series along with Bibby.

Although the team for the World Championships has basically been chosen, this try-out puts Hurst in the mix for future selection.

“She is in the final 20 for the team of 12 which is an unbelievable effort,” Bibby said.

“When you think about the next batch of point guards coming through, which Nat is in, it is a pretty good omen for 2012 and the World Champs after that.”



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