Kelly Wilson will be aiming to celebrate her 350-game milestone with a Championship when she hits the court in Game 3 of the 2017/18 Grand Final series on Sunday.
Becoming just the ninth player in WNBL history to reach 350 games, Wilson has the chance to mark the occasion in style if she can help the JCU Townsville Fire to a fairy-tale finish over the Deakin Melbourne Boomers in the competition’s first ever Game 3 of a Grand Final series.
Debuting with the AIS in 2002/03 as a 17-year old, Wilson made an immediate impact on the league to earn the Betty Watson Rookie of the Year Award with nine points and 2.6 assists per game over the season.
Wilson moved to Sydney Uni for the following two years but became a serious threat once she signed with the Fire in 2005/06.
Her first stint with the club lasted three seasons and across that time, she averaged just under ten points per contest, shooting 42% from the field while in 2005/06, she hit 34-36 (94.4%) from the free-throw line.
Heading back to her home state of Victoria once the Bendigo Spirit entered the league, Wilson joined her sister Andrea and became a key piece of the team’s back court through a very successful period.
Over seven seasons, she helped Bendigo to six playoff appearances, three Grand Finals and back-to-back Championships from 2013-14, both of which came against her old club in Townsville.
Her final season with Bendigo in 2015/16 saw Wilson average career-highs in points (11.4) and assists (5.5) while also tallying her highest score of 32 points (with six assists) in a Preliminary Final win against Sydney Uni.
Wilson then returned to Townsville last season but was bothered by injuries for most of the year as she struggled to get back into a rhythm.
Healthy throughout 2017/18, Wilson remains an integral part of the Fire’s line-up though, starting as the team’s point guard and now playing in her fourth WNBL Grand Final.
Sitting sixth for assists this year with 4.8 per game as well as a career-best 1.3 steals, Wilson’s influence cannot always be measured by her damage on the stats-sheet with her ability to control the tempo of the contest create opportunities for the likes of Suzy Batkovic just as important to Townsville’s Championship hopes.
“Kelly is such a hard worker,” coach Claudia Brassard told the Fire’s website.
“Her work ethic is second to none. She has an insatiable appetite to get better and she’s become a terrific leader.
“She controls the team exceptionally well and she brings a raft of intangibles – outside of being an elite player – to your locker room which teammates love.”
Wilson’s all-time numbers stack up against some of the best the WNBL has ever seen as well, sitting sixth for assists (1,015), seventh for finals played (23), ninth for games played (349) and tenth for three-pointers made (338).
Watch Wilson and the Fire in action in Game 3 of the 2017/18 Grand Final series from 6pm local time on FOX Sports channel 503 this Sunday.