Bendigo Lady Braves coach Jonathan Goodman believes he’s assembling a squad capable of going all the way to the national championship next South East Australian Basketball League season.
The Lady Braves were knocked out in an elimination final this year, but the new coach is ringing several changes to the roster, with a mix of WNBL experience and SEABL D-League exuberance to take to the court in 2013.
Australian Opal Elyse Penaluna is the only player to have formally joined the club for next season, but reigning SEABL MVP Renae Camino and point guard Jane Chalmers have both signed letters of intent to return.
Bendigo basketball champion Kristi Harrower has committed as an assistant coach, while her Bendigo Spirit team-mate Rachel Herrick is in talks to become a Lady Brave.
“I’m really, really keen to get Rachel, to me she’s a piece of the puzzle,” Goodman said.
“A starting line-up with her and Elyse and you’re looking pretty good.”
With most of the key players – likely to include the Spirit’s Maddie Garrick and Ebony Antonio – set to be in place soon, Goodman is confident his team can challenge for the SEABL title.
“I think we can win it, that group’s a WNBL group. If you look at our players at the Spirit team who are sitting on the bench and they really could play in any other WNBL group, so I’m really excited,” Goodman said.
“Then we’re looking at locals. Young kids in our program who played D-League last year that we want to have in our group.
“We’ll have about 13 or 14 (players), we’ve got some good juniors coming through, girls that have played in Victoria Country teams and some that have gone to Australia junior camps.
“A lot of them too are bigger bodies, so they’re going to get better training with Elyse and Rachel – the likes of those girls – I think they’ll get fast-tracked into the SEABL program and be quite complimentary to our playing group.”
The Lady Braves’ season tips off March 15 at Bendigo Stadium against Knox.