Canberra Capitals captain Abby Bishop juggling Europe, America, Australia and motherhood

Mum’s the word: Canberra Capitals star Abby Bishop has a busy schedule. Photo: Matt BedfordCanberra Capitals captain Abby Bishop has met with Australian coach Brendan Joyce about a potential return to the Opals squad and changes to basketball’s parental policy, but she has reaffirmed her priority will always be to her adopted daughter Zala.

Bishop has also dismissed suggestions of potential burnout, the 26-year-old leaving Canberra on Thursday to accept a lucrative two-month deal in Hungary, before returning to America’s WNBA.

With the WNBL season complete, the Capitals have granted Bishop an early release from her contract to accept the cameo deal in Hungary, which includes provisions for a nanny for 18-month-old Zala.

Bishop has been the primary career for her niece Zala since she was two days old and was recently granted full custody until she is 18.

Bishop stood down from the Opals squad at last year’s world championships due to Basketball Australia’s parental policy, which restricted children staying with the team.

Effectively a single mother, Bishop met with Joyce last week and has been included in a 34-player Opals squad after an outstanding WNBL season, in which she led scoring and rebounding.

“We didn’t go into too much discussion about the parental policy, but as much as I’m aware they’re changing things up a little bit in that and seeing what they can do with it,” Bishop said.

“I walked out quite positive, but I also made it quite clear again that Zala is my first priority. She’s put a lot of things into perspective. Obviously basketball is my life and my job, but I won’t be sacrificing my daughter for anything else. I made that quite clear and they understand that now, so we’ll see what happens.

“Zala’s a little bit older now, so that makes it a little bit easier for me now as well. But at the same time, it’s one of those things we have to work together with. At the moment I’d probably be the only woman in the team that’s got a child, so it’s something they’ve got to work through.”

Despite the Capitals missing the WNBL finals, Bishop is overwhelming favourite to take out the league’s most valuable player award after a stellar individual season.

While she is not contracted to return to the Capitals next summer, it appears likely Bishop will play with Miskolc in Hungary, then head to the Seattle Storm in the WNBA, before returning to Canberra.

Australia’s greatest female basketballer and Capitals teammate Lauren Jackson took on a similarly hectic schedule at her peak, but has struggled with injury in recent seasons.

Bishop said she wasn’t concerned she was taking on too much and was still in the frame to return to the Capitals next season.

“I’m one of those athletes who needs to be doing something all the time … I’m at that point in my career where I’m hitting some peak form and I need to build on it.

“Loz played from an early age back-to-back Europe and America, playing a lot of minutes, highly demanding on her body. For me, the last couple of years haven’t been as heavy as hers would have been, so my body feels good … I know how to look after my body.

“I’d love to stay [at the Capitals], obviously Canberra’s home and I feel like this is my team.”

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