JCU Townsville Fire rookie Ainsley Walsh has described Sunday’s Wattle Valley WNBL debut against the University of Canberra Capitals as her greatest achievement to date.
Having spent the past two seasons in the Fire’s Queensland Country Health Fund Academy, the 19-year-old, who is currently completing a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at James Cook University, was subbed into the game with 1.41 remaining and received an enormous cheer from her parochial home crowd.
It didn’t take long for the shooting guard to impose herself into the action as she grabbed an offensive rebound almost immediately to secure her first stat in the WNBL.
“Making my debut was the best thing that I have ever experienced,” Walsh said.
“It was so frightening when he called my name and told me to get up there, but at the same time it was so great to have everyone on the bench like Suzy (Batkovic) and Micaela (Cocks) giving me confidence to get on.”
A decorated Townsville junior, Walsh has been a consistent state representative in recent years and was a part of the Queensland North team which won gold at the 2013 Under-18 National Championships.
Having scrimmaged with the Fire regularly throughout last year’s championship run, Walsh was rewarded with a development contract on the eve of the season before becoming the 94th player to represent the Fire at the weekend.
“Just in that minute forty I was buggered, I’ve never run so hard in my life,” Walsh said.
“It’s just that different intensity level and there’s so many people cheering for you and it’s just crazy hearing everyone around you.
“It was amazing.”
The Fire are poised to resume their title defence on Saturday night when they host the Adelaide Lightning.
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