TRADITIONALLY there is little love lost between Ballarat and Knox when it comes to play-off matches.
Ballarat Lady Miners defeated Knox twice in title games in 2005 – the South East Australian Basketball League championships and again for the ABA national crown.
Andrea McMahon, who transferred to Knox for one season while at university, says the Raiders will be desperate to beat Ballarat Rush in the south conference play-off on Saturday night.
Knox have been successful for the best part of the last decade but have not reaped the rewards the Lady Miners did in their most successful SEABL period from 2004 to 2007.
“I know Knox have played a lot of finals and grand finals, have been favourite every occasion and haven’t won it,” McMahon said.
“I’d rather play as underdogs ... we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“Everyone thinks it’s a good effort to get through this far.
“I want to give them as big a scare as we can and win this.”
Auslec Rush was the first team to defeat the Knox powerhouse this season and the only team to beat Knox with Raiders’ imposing star Gab Richards on the floor.
McMahon joined Ballarat’s marquee women’s team in 2000, when the Lady Miners were playing in the Big V Basketball League, and is well-versed in what it takes to win clutch matches in the SEABL.
There were two signings that convinced McMahon Rush could match it with anyone this season – Alice Kunek and the American Nya Mason, both with SEABL and international experience.
McMahon said the pair offered great versatility when teamed with Rush’s core experience of Kristy Rinaldi, Kate Willey and herself, plus an exciting band of young players.
“No-one is a superstar – we don’t really get that individual recognition in the league,” McMahon said. “We think that together, we’re as good as anyone ... we’ve done it the past two weeks in finals,” she said.