Walsh returns for further development

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JCU Townsville Fire championship winner Ainsley Walsh has been announced as a development player for a successive season.

Having trained with the Fire during the 2014/15 WNBL season, Walsh, who is presently studying a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at James Cook University, was rewarded with a development contract last season and helped steer them to back-to-back titles.

With Rachael Sporn Medallists Micaela Cocks and Mia Murray returning to the back court and the Fire acquiring star guards Kelly Wilson and Natasha Cloud, Walsh said she was looking forward to learning off some of the game’s best players in 2016/17.

“It’s amazing to be back,” Walsh said.

“It’s going to be great to get another year of development under me and I can only get better.

“I want to work a lot harder and see whether I can take the next step in my game.”

Having spent two seasons in the Fire’s Queensland Country Health Fund Academy, Walsh is the first of two development players named for the 2016/17 season, with head coach Claudia Brassard understanding the importance of cultivating North Queensland talent.

A second development player will be named next week.

“It’s important for the club that there is a pathway for talented North Queensland basketballers to come through,” Brassard said.

“Ainsley’s always been a very good defender, but we’re continuing to work on all aspects of her game including her decision making when she has the ball in her hands.

“She’s enjoyed a very good QBL campaign to date and we are starting to see the progress in her game.”

Having secured a starting role with the Townsville Flames this season, Walsh is averaging 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 29 minutes per game.

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