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It was a little over a year ago Kayla Steindl (formerly Standish) was certain her professional career in the Women’s National Basketball League in Australia was wrapped up. With her first child on the way and eight years under her belt in the WNBL, Women’s State Basketball League and Queensland Basketball League, she was content walking away from the game.

And many accolades to go with it: WSBL all-star (2018); two-time QBL champion (2013, 2014); WSBL champion (2020) and two-time West Coast Conference first-team selection (2011, 2012) after four years at Gonzaga University.

“I had no intention of ever playing WNBL ever again,” Steindl said.

But it’s hard to keep life preordained.

Throw in the coronavirus pandemic and the Perth Lynx needing players because of the difficulty of adding bodies out of the state, Steindl is committed for one more season in the WNBL.

“I didn’t expect to play professionally ever again,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity. I get to see my family … or I should say they get to see Noah (Steindl’s son). They’re excited to see him.

“But I think the physical part of it is going to be the hardest part. I haven’t played at the level now for two seasons. I’m looking forward to it.”

On Oct. 9, the WNBL announced that through an innovative partnership with the Queensland government, the 2020 Chemist Warehouse WNBL season will be contested entirely in a North Queensland hub, with games beginning Nov. 12.

The hub in Queensland will see all eight WNBL teams, which will be played over a condensed six-week format with the Grand Final scheduled for Dec. 20. Each team will play 14 games as part of the 56-game regular season fixture.

Having the revised season in Queensland was the seller for Steindl. Her older sister, Tami Willey, resides in Queensland with her family as well as Steindl’s husband’s family.

“We’ll have lots of help because I’ll take my son with me and get to see family who we haven’t seen since January, February,” said Steindl, who had Noah in December with her husband, Clint.

The Ellensburg native did play in WSBL with the Joondalup Wolves in Perth this year. In a normal season, it would have commenced in March but was delayed until July. The season finished in late September with the Wolves capturing the title and Steindl garnering MVP after finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Now, she’s in the third week of practicing with the Perth Lynx before leaving for Queensland two days before the first game.

Athletes, coaches, officials and personnel associated with the WNBL from areas identified as ‘hotspots’ will arrive in Brisbane and quarantine for 14 days before relocating to North Queensland.

The city of Perth hasn’t had a positive COVID-19 case for over six months, not including international travelers returning home, according to Steindl. So, the Lynx won’t be forced to quarantine.

“We’re in a different situation, so we’re lucky we just get to fly over and basically start right away,” Steindl said. “And because there are no active cases at the moment out there, it’s in its own bubble — it’s a hub. So, we’re all staying together and we’re allowed to have family come in and out.”

If it had been a traditional WNBL season, Steindl most likely wouldn’t have competed because of the time commitment. And she’s certain this will be the last ... so she thinks.

“No, I probably won’t play after this, but you never know,” she said. “I said I wouldn’t play after the last time I finished, so yeah, you never know.”

Luke Olson:; on Twitter: @lukeolsonb


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