Twelve months ago Caitlin Bassett’s ambition was to lock down a spot in the Australian Diamonds starting seven.
A year and 12 Tests later and Bassett is now challenging England’s Jo Harten for the unofficial title as the world’s No.1 goal shooter, according to Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.
That’s a fair indication of how far Bassett’s game has developed at international level since she took over the starting goal shooter’s bib from Catherine Cox ahead of Australia’s 2013 Constellation Cup series against New Zealand.
The 26-year-old’s performances during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games was a key factor in Australia winning the Gold Medal for the first time in 12 years.
Her 49 goals in the Final against New Zealand was the best international shooting performance by a Diamond since Sharelle McMahon’s 47 goal effort against South Africa back in 2001.
In her 12 Test appearances this year, Bassett shot 391 goals at an average of 32.6 goals a Test and 87 per cent accuracy.
In the ANZ Championship with West Coast Fever she was the best-performed Australian shooter with 461 goals at 88 per cent accuracy and an average of 35 goals a match.
In 2015 she’ll become the first athlete to play 100 matches for the Fever.
“I think she’s really grown as a person and also as an athlete and she’s really becoming very aware of how good she is and starting to really use that to her benefit in many situations,” Alexander said Bassett.
“She’s adding different skills to her game now. She’s got some great moves up her sleeve now. We all know that she doesn’t like missing those close ones at the post but she’s working overtime to make sure she’s as accurate as possible for our team.”
“I think my development has been massive over the last 12 months,” Bassett declared. “It’s the first time that I’ve really been a starting seven player, which is exciting, and I think the vibe and the way our team goes about our business has made it quite easy for me.
“My targets are based more around getting the ball. The shooting of the goal is actually the easy part.
“It’s getting the ball in a great position in the circle so I rely on the midcourt a lot and the goal attack to do a lot of hard work out in front of me. They make my job easier at the end of the day.
“We give ourselves a lot of confidence out on court.”
Bassett said it was a “fantastic feeling” being part of an Australian team which went through 2014 undefeated, the first time that’s occurred since 2002.
“That’s the best thing about this team, we set our standards really high and we’re always pushing to be as close to perfect as we possibly can,” Bassett said.
“It’s great to have these high targets and Lisa is really great at pushing us.”