Ulverstone’s Mikaela Ruef in action earlier this season. Picture: Stuart Wilson.
SHE has hardly trained with her team all year and hasn’t even seen them this week, but that won’t stop Mikaela Ruef from being the key factor in tonight’s NWBU women’s grand final.
The Ulverstone import has been the competition’s dominant centre since suiting up for the team in round seven, averaging 22.13 points and an enormous 20.33 rebounds per game.
Such has been her influence, the Hoppers have only lost once in the 15 games she has played, and enter tonight’s showdown against Devonport on the back of a 10-game winning streak.
Despite a 21-point, 27-rebound effort against the Warriors in an emphatic semi-final win two weeks ago, Ruef said she wasn’t being weighed down by any expectations to produce a similar game tonight.
“I just try to go out every game and give what I can to help my team win the game,” the 24-year-old from Ohio said.
“There probably are expectations, but I don’t feel the pressure to play well and try my best.
“I’m definitely excited, but I’m not too nervous and I think it will be a good game.
“We played Devonport a few weeks ago and are pretty familiar with them.”
Ruef travelled to Tasmania to play with the Launceston Tornadoes in the SEABL, and wasn’t aware that she would be lining up with the Hoppers until after she arrived. But such is her talent and professionalism, the transition to the NWBU has been seamless.
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