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Cougar Family favourite Priestly returns to The Den

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Life might have taken her to some rival clubs in recent years, but it’s the Cockburn Cougars that will always feel like home for Taryn Priestly and the experienced point guard returns in 2024 with a spot on the wall potentially waiting for her.

Priestly has now played 332 games in total in the SBL/NBL1 West competition having started back in 2007, but it is at the Cougars where 195 of those have taken place.

She will now resume her Cockburn career in the 2024 NBL1 West season with the Cougars on the back of winning a championship last season.

Not only will Priestly now look to help the Cougars defend that championship, on a personal front she’s on the verge of 200 games to get up on the Wally Hagan Stadium wall, but that’s only the tipping point of why she’s so excited to return.

“Coming back to Cockburn felt like I found the missing piece in basketball,” Priestly said.

“The timing and conversations aligned, it felt right – it’s where I’m meant to be. Ty, the coaching staff, and the girls have been really welcoming and supportive – the culture feels right.”

It has been quite the distinguished career that Priestly has now put together since starting in the SBL at the Willetton Tigers back in 2007.

She spent those first three seasons with Willetton before joining the Cougars for the first time in 2010.

She remained with Cockburn right up until the end of the 2018 season putting together a standout 195-game stint where she cemented herself as one of the best all-round, and most consistent, point guards across the competition.

Priestly has split her time between Willetton and Lakeside since 2018 including celebrating her 300-game milestone in the league while with the Tigers back in 2021.

While Priestly might have not played her usual big-minute roles in the last couple of seasons she has been used to over her career, she has been every bit as impactful when on the court.

Priestly remains a terrific ball handler and distributor, a tenacious defender, standout leader and a tremendous playmaker.

Bringing those skills combined with her experience means she’ll be able to have a significant impact and to pass on what she can to the young brigade at the Cougars, while also sharing the back court with the likes of Jewel Williams, Alex Ciabattoni and Steph Gorman.

“Yes, I’ve faced injury challenges over the last couple of years, but they’ve provided an opportunity to learn how to contribute in different effective ways beyond just playing minutes,” Priestly said.

“Absolutely, we’ve got some incredibly talented guards. Their skills are impressive, and I’m excited at the opportunity to play alongside such dynamic players. I love the energy and versatility they bring to the team.”

While Priestly was playing with Lakeside last season and certainly was doing her best to beat Cockburn when playing against them, she also couldn’t help but be happy for the Cougars when they claimed that maiden women’s championship.

After all, Priestly has spent so much of her career trying to help that exact thing happen, so now upon coming back to the Cougars, she is excited to help in the championship defence and do whatever she can to earn a ring herself now.

“Seeing them dominate and win the championship last year was exciting; they earned it,” Priestly said.

“I was stoked for the team and everyone associated with the club. Now that I’m back, I’m ready to contribute and aim for that back-to-back win.”

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