The smile that lights up Kate Gaze's world is back

Canberra Capitals star Kate Gaze with her grandpa and former Australian Opals coach Tony Gaze after a WNBL game.
Canberra Capitals star Kate Gaze with her grandpa and former Australian Opals coach Tony Gaze after a WNBL game.

There's one smile that lights up Canberra Capitals forward Kate Gaze's world like no other.

Gaze got used to seeing her grandparents Tony and Margaret Gaze cheering for her when she was playing for Logan in the Queensland Basketball League during the WNBL off-season.

But the entire family went through a "pretty rough" patch when Margaret passed away unexpectedly, and 82-year-old Tony hadn't been able to watch his granddaughter play since.

Seventeen games into the WNBL season, the smile that lights up Gaze's world was back.

Former Australian Opals coach Tony Gaze was on hand to watch the Capitals win their last two games, the latter being a dominant 91-80 win over the Bendigo Spirit at Bendigo Stadium on Thursday night.

And so in a week where the Capitals have had a pair of rare wins to celebrate, it is Gaze with the biggest reason to cheer.

Gaze is the second cousin of Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze, and the daughter of former Australian representative Mark and ex-WNBL champion Michelle.

But it's her grandpa Tony that is both Gaze's biggest fan and her harshest critic.

"I played in Brisbane in the off-season and he used to come to every game with my grandma," Gaze said.

"He's 82 and he still does individuals with me every Wednesday when I'm up there. He coaches me and he's coached at the highest level in Australia.

"He was in Melbourne leading into Christmas so he was at our game against Dandenong and he was there [on Thursday] night with my brother.

"I think he might be our good luck charm, I said I might need to fly him up for our game in Canberra on Sunday, but he can't do that unfortunately.

"It was great to have him in the crowd, he knows his stuff and to play well in front of him is always good to do, so it was nice.

"He's my toughest critic but probably one of my biggest fans. He did get me ready for the season and in the off-season in Logan I had quite a successful season up there.

"I think my shooting has been quite off this season though so I think my grandpa has a lot to say about that.

"He would put it to him not doing our Wednesday afternoon sessions so I need to get him to move to Canberra or something like that, or fly him down every now and again to get me back on track on with my shooting."

Gaze is keen to stay at the club next year and she is leaning towards staying in Canberra during the off-season, which could see her suit up alongside Keely Froling for the Capitals Academy in the SEABL.

Canberra have looked a shadow of the side was riding a 13-game losing streak a week ago and will look to continue their run against the Adelaide Lightning at the National Convention Centre on Sunday.

The Lightning will be without star guard Natalie Novosel for the remainder of the season after the 28-year-old ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last weekend.

Win or lose, Gaze knows the smile that lights up her world will be beaming from her grandpa's home in northern NSW.


Sunday: Round 11 - Canberra Capitals v Adelaide Lightning at National Convention Centre at 3pm.

This story The smile that lights up Kate Gaze's world is back first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.