Australian Opals squad member Abby Bishop has signed to play with Tarbes Gespe Bigorre in the French women’s basketball league (Ligue féminine de basketball).
The 6’3 versatile forward/center played only 13 games for the Seattle Storm in the WNBA this past season before cutting short her season to join the Opals squad. She averaged just 5.2 minutes and 0.9 points per game for the Storm after receiving little opportunity, and like the controversial omission of Suzy Batkovic, was also left out of the Opals team for Rio.
As the WNBL’s 2006 Rookie of the Year, Bishop would go on to earn the 2014/15 WNBL MVP award with the University of Canberra Capitals, leading the league in both scoring (23 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg) that season. Last season, Bishop was able to contribute 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Capitals.
Tarbes signed Bishop as a replacement for 6’3 center Jenna Smith a 2010 WNBA draftee by the Washington Mystics who reneged on her deal to move from Torino, Italy to play the coming season.
Bishop returns to Europe after having won the 2014 Hungary Cup with Miskolc, contributing 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in her time there. She will relish the opportunity to see increased minutes after a lean time with the Storm and after missing the Opals team for Rio.
Tarbes head coach François Gomez was delighted in being able to persuade Bishop to play in France, heaping praise on her talent and IQ.
“It’s a high-level player who should lead us to safety both inside and with her intelligence,” François Gomez explained during the presentation of the team.
Bishop joins a large contingent of current or former Opals players to make the trek to Europe for the 2016/17 season. With Rachel Jarry signing to play with Montpellier, there will be two Australian’s playing in France this season.