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Australia's Ebzery draws curtain on basketball career
SYDNEY (Australia) - It's an enormous challenge to follow in the footsteps of legends but Katie Ebzery embraced it with Australia's national team. After a very good run with the Opals, Ebzery, 31, has decided to retire.
A 1.78m point guard, Ebzery fits the tough-as-nails mold of the Australian player. She was feisty, skilled, physical and relentless. If there was a loose ball to be had, Ebzery went all out for it, just as she willingly stood in front of rampaging opponents to draw charges, or fought with bigger adversaries for rebounds.
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There was hardly ever a game for the Opals in which Ebzery did not catch an inadvertent slap to the face or get up slowly from the hardwood after a collision. She was a player that backed down from no one and fought for every inch.
Twice Ebzery played at the Olympics - at the Rio 2016 Games and this summer in Tokyo.
One of her finest moments came at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 in Tenerife where her combative, never-quit-on-anything attitude helped Australia march to the Final. One of her best games was in the Semi-Final triumph over hosts Spain when she contributed 10 points in 28 fast and furious minutes.
Only the United States, who haven't lost a game since the Women's World Cup in Brazil in 2006, prevented Ebzery and Australia from reaching the top of the podium in Spain.
Ebzery, who reached the Women's World Cup Final in Tenerife, always played her heart out for the Opals
In the Australian WNBL, Ebzery competed for 15 seasons. She had a dream season with the Perth Lynx, too. In her second year with the club, she averaged a team-high 16.3 points, 4.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds and received the team's MVP honor.
Ebzery has opened up about some of the struggles she faced with anxiety as a contributing writer to the Athletes Voice.
So what next?
Ebzery studied to become a teacher while at Sydney University and has already embarked on a career in education.
"My experience at Sydney Uni was really great, gave me the opportunity to start incorporating studying as well, which has helped me with my transition out of basketball into teaching, that's something I look back really fondly on," she said to Basketball Australia.
"My last few years at Perth have been so great too, such a welcoming environment and the city of Perth has been a beautiful place to live, so I've been so lucky to experience it all."
Ebzery can be proud of the times that she represented her country in international competition.
"Growing up representing your country in the sport you choose was always the biggest pinnacle for me," she said.
"Playing on the international stage was always the main goal of being a basketballer and to be able to do that at a number of tournaments has been really memorable and so special."