Four years at a US college has the Bendigo Bank Spirit’s newest recruit, Hayley Munro, feeling ready for her WNBL return.
Originally from Eltham, Munro is something of a basketball journeywoman.
The sport has taken the 183cm swing player to California to play at Fresno State, before she packed her bags for the north-east coast of Australia to play two seasons for Queensland Basketball League team, Bundaberg.
Seven years ago Munro, 24, was living in Canberra and made her debut in the WNBL for the AIS where she played a handful of games.
The league’s changed since then, but so has Munro, who tonight steps on court in Adelaide to make her first appearance for the Spirit.
“I learnt that over (in the US) it’s a bit more physical and a bit quicker. But coming back here and training with the WNBL girls I’m finding that it’s similar, so it’s better for me,” she said.
“I like to do well on the defensive end, I like to pride myself more defensively than scoring, but whatever the team needs I’ll try and get done.
“There’s a lot of great talent (at the Spirit) and I’ve got a lot to learn. I watch Chelsea Aubry, I think her game is very good and I learn a lot from her.
“I’m just here to fill a role, obviously I can try and pop out on a wing or play inside – so wherever they need me I’ll try and fill it.”
The Spirit has welcomed Munro with open arms since contacted her former Big V coach and now Spirit assistant Jeremi Moule last month asking for a trial.
Tall and injury-free, Munro’s timing couldn’t have been better, arriving just before the departure of injured US import Kathleen Scheer and she is now set to support Gabe Richards and Aubry against the league’s tall timber.
“I originally had a couple of looks at other teams in the WNBL but I wanted to try and get somewhere closer to home.
“My family hasn’t seen me play for about five years,” she said.
Bendigo is close enough for Munro, who may relocate to central Victoria from Melbourne and is open to the idea of playing for the Lady Braves in the SEABL.
But for now, her attention is on tonight’s match and tomorrow’s game against West Coast in Perth.