Co-winner of the Dandenong Rangers MVP in season 2016/17, Sara Blicavs has re-committed to the team and is already looking forward to another run at the finals. Although her return to the team was only officially announced last week, Blicavs says she never had any intention of leaving. “I was always going to play with Dandenong again, how could you not?”.
The recently announced TV partnership with Fox Sports also adds to the interest in the coming season. “It’s so exciting” she says. “It’s really helped getting bigger names into the league, already you’ve seen Liz (Cambage) and Jenna O’Hea return”. Blicavs remembers the disappointment of the league losing coverage when she was at the AIS and is elated at the long-awaited return to TV. “It’s amazing to see the league will be getting the coverage that it’s worthy of”.
While Dandenong teammates Aimie Clydesdale, Nat Novosel and Lauren Scherf have all moved to other clubs and legend Jacinta Kennedy has retired, the Rangers have not sat idle in free agency.
Blicavs and Steph Cumming shared the club MVP award and will again be a huge part of the Rangers core.
They’ve recently re-signed club co-MVP (and The Evening Game favourite) Steph Cumming and have been strongly linked to Conneticut Suns forward Kayla Pederson. They are expected to announce the signing of Olympian one guard Tessa Lavey shortly and have pulled off a coup by signing stretch four/five Carley Mijovic, one of the league’s most lavishly talented players.
The return of Mijovic to her junior club is one that Blicavs welcomes with open arms. “I can’t wait” Blicavs says of reuniting with her former AIS teammate. “She’s one of my closest friends. She’s going to bring a lot of scoring power and that real feistiness to the team, and obviously she’s 6’6, so it’s really exciting”.
Fifth in WNBL MVP voting last season, Blicavs says she wants to add even more consistency to her game in the coming campaign. “I set mini-goals for each game, and I want to turn the good games from last year into great games, and the bad games into good games”. She is also working on raising her three-point percentage, which already stood at a healthy 39% last year, fifth amongst WNBL players who took at least 50 outside shots.
Silly squad: Dandenong Rangers celebrate Turtle Power on Mad Monday. Photo: Instagram, @sarablicavs
Whether winning or losing (though there was definitely more winning), the Rangers always seemed to be having a great time last season. Blicavs says their close-knit nature is a huge part of their identity. “That’s what gets us so far, that we’re really close on and off the court. Larissa is really big on personalities, getting the right personality that will fit into the team…we really make an effort to do things together away from basketball”.
A popular figure on social media, Blicavs comes across as a very upbeat personality, but it would be a grave mistake to see her amiability as a lack of competitive fire. Clearly, the grand final loss still burns and is one she is determined to avenge. “There’s a few grudges against Sydney, I’ll tell you that!” she says.