The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have added a significant presence to their 2014-15 WNBL roster with the signing of former Australian Under-21 representative Kate Oliver.
The 193cm forward/centre has been playing in the United States for the past five seasons: starting with the Marist Red Foxes in the NCAA competition in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons before transferring to the University of Southern California Trojans for the 2011-12 (sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules), 2012-13, and 2013-14 seasons.
She recently finished her commitments with the Trojans and has returned home to Australia to link up with the Flames. That was not before she rattled in second-half points to push USC to a 59-54 win over Arizona in the first round of the 2014 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, which they would go on to win for the first time.
The daughter of former Melbourne Tigers player Mark Oliver, Kate attended Lake Ginninderra College in Canberra, where her talents were honed from a young age. Playing for the Hills Hornets while at school, she won Sydney Junior Championships in 2002, 2005 and 2006.
Oliver was a member of Australia’s Under-17 and Under-19 Australian teams, winning gold at the 2006 FIBA Under-21 Oceania Tournament and also competing at the 2008 FIBA Oceania World Qualifying Tournament.
During that period she led NSW to three second-place finishes at the Australian Championships from 2006-08. Oliver graduated from Lake Ginninderra College in 2008 and was awarded an AIS basketball scholarship in 2009.
Marist Red Fox coach Brian Giorgis spotted Oliver’s talent and was keen to sign her. “Kate is one of the top posts on the Australian continent for her class,” Giorgis said at the signing. “She has a lot of international experience and I feel that she can make an immediate impact on our team.”
He was right. Oliver appeared in all of the Red Foxes games during her two seasons there, averaging eight points a game in season 2010-11 when they won 31 of 34 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Five-time NBA Championship winner and USC head coach at the time, Michael Cooper, was also keen to have Oliver on his roster. “With her height and good shooting ability, she can really spread the floor for us,” he said at her signing. “She is a great kid with a high basketball IQ and is also very strong academically. She’s really hit it off with the team already.”
The Brydens Sydney Uni Flames are excited to welcome Kate into the Flames set up and will be looking forward to seeing her suit up for the 2013-14 WNBL season.
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