BENDIGO Spirit have made an investment in their future following the signing of three young Bendigo Lady Braves players to their 2017-18 roster.
Jessie Rennie, Maddi Wild and Ahlise Hurst will be the club’s development players for the coming WNBL season.
This will be Rennie’s second season as a development player, but the first for Wild and Hurst, who will be part of the Lady Braves’ line-up for Saturday’s SEABL south conference semi-final against the Dandenong Rangers.
Spirit coach Simon Pritchard said fostering local talent was an important part of the club’s charter.
“I am excited to be working with these three emerging stars,” he said.
“Jessie, Maddi and Ahlise have shown themselves to be gifted athletes at junior level.
“We are now looking to increase their skill sets and strength of play, through individual sessions and training at WNBL tempo.
“This will see benefits not in the short term, but underpin our program into the future.”
Rennie is averaging 6.6 points per game and 1.4 rebounds per game this season for the Lady Braves, who finished the regular season in second position in their conference.
Wild, who returned mid-season from her third college year at West Texas A&M University, is averaging 3.9 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game through 13 games for the Lady Braves.
She averaged 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in her senior year with West Texas A&M.
Pritchard said Hurst had genuine speed and explosive moves to get to the basket.
“We will polish those skills and help to add the defensive power that such a gifted athlete can possess,” he said.
“Jessie's three-point shooting is a quality we are looking to harness, but we must add some penetration skill and ball handling to get her game to WNBL level.
“(Wild) will help us in the post while continuing to advance her ball handling and screening and rebounding skills.
“We certainly see her as a future Spirit team member.
“I look forward to working with these athletes to advance their dreams of playing in the WNBL.”