Lightning talent a rising Diamond after big season
Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich says Lightning’s Cara Koenen is among a rising contingent that has the chance to stamp their mark on the Diamonds’ future.
After a big season with the Sunshine Coast, Koenen earned her first call up into the Diamonds squad for the 2020/21 international campaign.
Koenen and the Diamonds are currently in Noosa for new head coach Stacey Marinkovich’s first camp.
Lightning’s Steph Wood is also in the squad.
While the Coast were knocked out in the preliminary final, Marinkovich said there was plenty to like about Koenen’s season.
“She had a really consistent season in her performance,” Marinkovich said.
“The way in which she was moving in the circle and her accuracy to the post was something that stood out.
“She was playing against really experienced defenders and was able to get the performance against those players.”
The 24-year-old enjoyed her biggest season to date for the Lightning, notching up 16 appearances at goal shooter.
She scored 491 goals at 89 per cent accuracy.
Marinkovich said there was plenty of chances for younger talents to earn greater roles on the international stage in the coming year.
“It’s how people take on those opportunities when they come into camp and she’s (Koenen) obviously a young talent and we’re looking to see what combinations and variations we can get with our shooters,” she said.
“We’ve obviously had a bit of a changeover with people retiring and I think it’s a great opportunity for the young ones to make their mark and put their stamp on the way in which the Diamonds can play going forward.”
She was eager to use the Noosa camp to get to know Koenen and other players better.
“I haven’t had a lot to do with Cara,” she said.
“For me it’s just getting further knowledge and understanding of how she thinks and how she goes about things and what it is she needs for me in order to bring the best out of her.”
The Diamonds will remain in Noosa until the camp ends on Monday.
Following a condensed season, Marinkovich said the stay was more about building connections than on-court form.
Along with meetings, they would do plenty of recreational activities including hiking and kayaking.
“We chose this location because it’s somewhere none of the players have been staying for the last three months,” she said.
“It’s different scenery and somewhere that was a relaxed environment so we could come in here and start to get to know each other and to really set the foundation to where it is we want to go.
“And it’s all about getting clarity, alignment and building relationships.”