After a dominant first month of action, Sydney Uni Flames’ Amy Denson, has collected the first Player of the Month Award for season 2010-11 in the Women’s National Basketball League.
Averaging 23.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, Denson has solidified herself as one of the dominant players in the league, a league she has been hoping to get into for some time.
“I always wanted to come to Australia but it’s difficult to come over here, especially in the WNBL because there are so many talented athletes, you don’t really need imports as much as you do in Europe. They’re not as relied on,” she said.
But that’s certainly not the case in Denson’s present scenario with the Flames. After a positive start to the season, with victories over Townsville, Logan and West Coast in the first few weeks, injury troubles hampered the Flames’ progress, with Denson having to carry much more of the scoring and rebounding weight than she did in the opening few match-ups.
“My role has changed but I think everybody’s role has changed,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any way they couldn’t have, considering the injuries we’ve taken on right now.
“I think everybody has had to be kicked up a notch because we need everybody to make an impact in one way or the other. Especially right now, we need everybody to be on the same page defensively and communication-wise – we are young and we’re not too experienced when it comes to just adding up the years, but I think that what we do have is we get along really well, we respect each other and that alone will really help us out.”
Coming out of Arizona State University, where she was a regular starter, Denson had the reputation as a versatile big, with some range and plenty of moves off the dribble. The 6’1” forward moved to Puerto Rico, where she hooped for three years, followed by stints in Poland and Romania.
Through a contact, she came to Australia to play for Kilsyth in the SEABL where she got to see a little WNBL basketball, and a spot in a WNBL side immediately became her goal. After returning to play for Knox, she received a last minute call up, and joined the Flames for the 2010/11 season.
And it’s the way she has been able to fit into the culture at Sydney that she credits her form and subsequent Player of the Month Award to.
“I feel like I’m doing well. I feel like it’s just the right fit for me here and I think that it has a lot to do with my teammates and my coaches and just the supporting staff – everybody’s made me feel very comfortable, which has just really helped me along from the get-go. So I think that has a lot to do with it.”
“It’s a very big complement and an honour. The League is so good and I feel very grateful for it.”
Looking ahead towards the remainder of the season, Amy believes that if the group can stay positive and work through the current rough patch, they can pick up where they left off earlier in the season when they were touched by the rough hand of bad luck.
“We’re just trying to stay positive, we’re trying to get some consistency going. We have really good glimpses of how good we can be and then we just take a few steps back and it’s just that yo-yo process,” she said.
“You know we’re still just trying to stay positive and work hard and just sustain until we get our full group back together. It’s definitely disappointing because we were on a very good start. But these are the kinds of cards we were dealt and now we can’t really focus on what we don’t have. We just need to keep on moving forward.”