2021 ANZ Player of the Week: Round 14 – Caitlin Bassett

IN a new series, Draft Central casts an eye over the top performer from the round taking into account not only their individual stats, but their overall impact on the game. Round 14 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of key players lead the way for their respective teams and put their best foot forward, with Australian goal shooter and Magic lynchpin Caitlin Bassett the next player to get the nod for Player of the Week.

The goal shooter was in fine form using her body and clever holds to keep the likes of Jane Watson at bay time and time again. Watson is renowned for her prying arms and constant movement but the class and smarts of Bassett shone through as she dipped into her bag of tricks to dominate inside the circle. Bassett made her presence felt nice and early bodying up against Watson to drop back into the space along the goal line, a method which proved extremely beneficial for the Magic throughout their contest.

Although Waikato Bay of Plenty did not get over the line, Bassett’s performance is what kept her side in it as she consistently reoffered inside the circle and most importantly was accurate to post. The Australian goal shooter managed an impressive 40 goals from 42 attempts at 95 per cent, one of her highest outputs in the ANZ Premiership to-date and reminding everyone just how potent she can be. Bassett highlighted her ability to hold Watson at the top of the circle and then drop into the back space, but also proved that she could flick around and demand the front space with her strong positioning. Her footwork was also on song throughout the match as she worked all areas of the circle to open up space, but clearly did her best work when planted directly under the post as is her specialty.

Bassett has been steadily building all season with the Magic feeders taking a while to forge those really strong connections and confidence to deliver into her. But this round those connections well and truly came to fruition with the likes of Sam Winders and Grace Kara firing off well-executed passes into the goal shooter. The midcourt pair allowed Bassett to command the ball inside the circle and by cleverly directing passes into her, Bassett could and did impose herself for the full 60 minutes. This newfound confidence to release the ball in almost instantaneously paid dividends for Bassett as she was able to set up quickly, playing right into the hands of the tried and tested Australian captain. There was a real aura of confidence around Bassett which rubbed off on youngster Khiarna Williams inside the circle as the pair continue to develop a damaging partnership.

This was by far one of the best games this season from Bassett as her leadership kept her side within striking distance of the top two side in the Tactix. She utilised her voice out on court to help dictate the play inside attack and was a constant threat with her quick hands and footwork allowing her to reposition to ensure she could get into damaging places within the attacking third. Bassett took advantage of her extra centimetres to reel in the rebounds while her ability to draw the penalties also gave her a few easy shots under the post.

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