Torns sign Opals star

Opals London Olympic team member Abby Bishop is set to bring a wealth of experience and talent to the Tornadoes line-up.  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Opals London Olympic team member Abby Bishop is set to bring a wealth of experience and talent to the Tornadoes line-up. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

LAUNCESTON Tornadoes have pulled off a big recruiting coup with the signing of Australian forward Abby Bishop.

The 25-year-old was part of the bronze-medal winning Opals team at the 2012 London Olympics and will join the team for the remainder of the SEABL season as a replacement for Nadeen Payne, who is sidelined with a torn ACL.

At 189cm, the South Australian is one of Australia's best post players, boasting experience beyond her years. 

Bishop has an impressive resume, having played in the best leagues in the US and Europe, including a 2010 stint with the Seattle Storm in the WNBA.

She has played WNBL with the Canberra Capitals (2006-10), Dandenong Rangers (2010-11) and Adelaide Lightning (2011-12), having returned to Canberra for the past two seasons.

Torns' head coach Peta Sinclair was thrilled to have recruited Bishop, who will line up this weekend for the double-header against Hobart and the Knox Raiders. 

Abby Bishop.  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Abby Bishop. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

``It's exciting to have someone of Abby's calibre to come play for the Tornadoes,'' Sinclair said.

``It will allow our local players to develop and learn from someone with a lot of experience and it will be exciting for the community to be able to watch Abby play each week.'' 

Tomorrow night's game against the Lady Chargers in Hobart will see a fascinating match-up between Bishop and fellow Opals forward Cayla Francis.

Ally Wilson will take on Izzy Chilcott on the wing and Alicia Riley goes up against US import and SEABL player of the month Kathleen Scheer. 

The Tornadoes are hopeful for the return of the 2013 MVP Olivia Howard, who has spent a long time on the sidelines with an injured back. 

They face another challenge at Elphin Stadium on Saturday night against reigning champions Knox Raiders, who defeated them by 13 points in  the opening round  and are likely to have their two star imports and Opals squad members, Gabe Richards and Kelly Wilson. 

``We play two very tough teams this weekend who boast a lot of talent which will challenge us to play some great basketball,'' Sinclair said.

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