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Heal out to make a name for herself in the WNBA
GOLD COAST (Australia) - The next great Australian star has arrived in the WNBA.
Shyla Heal, the 19-year-old second-generation player, was picked 8th overall by the Chicago Sky in the 2021 WNBA Draft, joining an array of Aussie standouts in the WNBA led by icon Lauren Jackson and current stars Liz Cambage Alanna Smith, and Ezi MAgbegor.
The crafty point guard is coming off a banner season for the JCU Townsville Fire in the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL behind averages of 15.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Heal and the Fire fell short against Jayco Southside Flyers in the finals but she cemented her stature as one of the brightest young stars from Down Under with an All-WNBL Second Team selection.
She was also named Betty Watson Australian Player of the Year award.
A former national youth team leader for the Sapphires and now the next big prospect for the Opals, Heal already showed a glimpse of her caliber years ago prior to her WNBL and WNBA rise after leading Australia in FIBA age-group championships.
In fact, she was the youngest WNBL player in history at age 14.
Then she catapulted to new heights, leading Australia to the top of the 2017 FIBA U17 Championships in Guam, where she was also named MVP before anchoring the Sapphires’ bronze-medal finishes in the U18 Asian Championships in Thailand and the 2018 FIBA Women's World Cup in Belarus.
On the biggest international stage, Heal shone even brighter with an All-Star Five citation in the World Cup after norming 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Jackson, Basketball Australia's Head of Women in Basketball, congratulated its very own Heal for making history and blazing the path for the Opals in preparation also for the Tokyo Olympics.
Basketball Australia's Head of Women in Basketball
“The WNBA is the best league in the world and to be playing with and against some of the world’s greatest will only take her game to the next level,” said Jackson, a member of WNBA Top-15 Players of All Time after an illustrious career highlighted by three MVPs, three titles, Defensive Player of the Year and Scoring Champion awards, and multiple All-Star and All-NBA selections.
“We now have a strong contingent of Australian athletes in the WNBA which is a reflection of our elite high-performance pathway including the Chemist Warehouse WNBL.”
Heal surely worked her way up to the top following the footsteps of her legendary father Shane Heal, who had stints with the Boomers and NBA teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs.
From the Down Under, she’s now bound to Chicago, where she will join forces with two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker.
The next great Australian star has arrived in the WNBA and she’s out to become neither Jackson nor Las Vegas aces star Cambage.
She’s out to be the first Shyla Heal.