IT DIDN’T take former Big V championship player Katie O’Keefe long to rediscover her love for suiting up for the Mermaids’ division one side.
O’Keefe watched just one of her husband Simon’s Seahawks games and attended one training session the following week to know she would return to the sport after spending five years away.
The former WNBL basketballer’s last match before her return in round two this year was the 2012 division one championship victory over Craigieburn.
This weekend she will be a key player in the Mermaids’ side that currently leads Mildura Heat 1-0 in the best of three semi-final series.
The Mermaids must win game two in Mildura this Saturday night to ensure they secure their spot in the next round of the finals series.
O’Keefe said she had enjoyed being back in the green and white jersey.
“It’s been amazing, it’s been a good season and it’s always fun when you get more wins than losses,” the 35-year-old said.
“It keeps me motivated and it’s good the knee is holding up as that was my main concern coming back.”
Since round two the versatile veteran has played 592 minutes, scored 226 points at an average of 11.89 points a game, averaged 6.47 rebounds and 1.68 assists.
The mother-of-two said she was enjoying the role coach Louise Brown had given her.
“I’ve been the old girl, the veteran of the side this year. I’m just trying to take my experience onto the court,” she said.
“It’s been good. It’s something I enjoy and basketball is something I have done since I was nine years old.
“So to give back now has been really enjoyable for me.”
O’Keefe praised Brown on the way she has built the Mermaids depth and defensive strength, conceding a competition-best 59 points a game during the regular season.
“Loui (Louise Brown) has done great,” she said. “We have always had good junior talent come through and a lot of those girls happen to be back at Warrnambool at this particular time and at a division one standard.
“We have a huge emphasis on defending so statically we are the best defensive side in the league and on our given day if we play our defence we are hard to outscore.”
The chiropractor said the Mermaids experienced heads helped making changes to the side easier and that every player knew their roles, which in turn boosted the overall team performance.
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