Canberra Capitals' awards night
Carly Wilson, Isabelle Strunc, Abby Bishop and Sarah McAppion. Photo: Jay Cronan
Newly crowned Canberra Capitals most valuable player Abby Bishop says she is a ''package deal'' with niece Zala, but her Australian Opals involvement hinges on a new Basketball Australia policy that will decide if Zala can travel with the team.
Bishop's outstanding WNBL season was rewarded on Wednesday night when she won the Capitals' MVP prize and the Kellie Abrams defensive player of the year award.
Making her season even more impressive is the fact Bishop, 25, took custody of niece Zala when she was just two days old.
Zala travelled to every Capitals game in a season filled with disappointing on-court results.
Bishop is effectively a single mother, with her boyfriend living in Wollongong and her family spread around the country.
The Opals are preparing for the world championships in September.
They have a hectic schedule with a camp on the Gold Coast and games in Japan, the US and Europe.
It is unclear whether Basketball Australia will allow Zala to travel with the Opals and Bishop is working with officials.
''Basketball Australia is currently developing a policy relating to the presence of children in high-performance environments which will cover all national teams - including the Australian Opals, Boomers, and Gliders and Rollers national wheelchair basketball teams,'' a BA spokesperson said.
''The policy will be the first of its kind for Basketball Australia and, indeed, most major Australian sporting codes, and will be developed in consultation with the players' association.''
Bishop was the standout for the Capitals this season.
She averaged 18.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a game and is in contention to be the league's most valuable player.
Centre Alex Bunton was named rookie of the year, while Carly Wilson won the players' player award.
Bunton, 20 years old and 196 centimetres tall, played 21 games and averaged 8.7 points.
Wilson is a WNBL veteran who has played 293 games and was awarded life membership this season.
Bishop is contracted to the Capitals for the 2015-16 campaign, but is free to negotiate with European clubs for next season.
The 2012 Olympian admitted the chance to play alongside superstar Lauren Jackson at the Capitals next season was enticing.
''I'm keeping my options open, I'll do what's best for Zala and myself,'' Bishop said.
''I'll take Zala anywhere I go … we're a package deal.''
Canberra Capitals major award winners
■ MVP: Abby Bishop
■ Kellie Abrams defensive player: Abby Bishop
■ Rookie of the year: Alex Bunton
■ Players’ player: Carly Wilson