AUSTRALIAN basketballer Rachel Jarry has spent much of the past 18 months focusing on the London Olympics.
But early yesterday the 20-year-old simply feared for her life as an armed group surrounded her and a female friend after they left a Melbourne bar.
Jarry and her friend were assaulted with Ms Jarry repeatedly kicked and her friend suffering a possible fracture to her nose.
''I still can't believe it happened. I feared for my life,'' Jarry said. ''I can honestly say the Olympics didn't go through my mind at that point. Fearing for your life is a level above your career.
''Once we got out of it and I realised nothing was broken I knew I'd be all right.''
The two women were walking back to their car when a group surrounded them in Lonsdale Street and threatened them with knives.
Jarry, who escaped with a bruised cheekbone and body bruising, said she hadn't been drinking and was just enjoying a Saturday night out, something WNBL players rarely get to do during the season.
The women gave up their valuables, including their phones and wallets, when confronted but say they were then set upon by the group.
''We were not out looking for trouble; we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,'' Jarry said.
''It looked like we had parked in a safe place. I was told the same group who attacked us attacked some other people 10 minutes later.''
She said police had told her they had good leads on her attackers along with CCTV footage of the group.
Jarry, of Point Cook, and her friend were out with a larger group before the attack until the rest of the group caught a taxi.
Jarry had helped her Bulleen Boomers side to a win over Townsville on Friday night. She is having an impressive season and is a member of the Australian women's basketball squad, the Opals. She played a key role in the Boomers' first WNBL championship last year and was also selected in the (American) WNBA draft but has postponed moving to the US to try to make the Opals team for the London Olympics.
The Boomers players took special care of their teammate yesterday as Jarry attended a team barbecue despite her ordeal.
She said the support of her teammates and parents was comforting after such a traumatic experience.
''This team is more than just a good group of friends, we are a big family,'' she said.
Police did not respond to questions from The Age about the incident before deadline yesterday.