Bendigo Braves have re-signed star player Nadeen Payne for the 2019 season.
Following an exceptional season for the Braves in 2018 – with Payne part of the SEABL National Championship winning team – a return to Bendigo was a “no-brainer” for the Townsville native.
“I love Bendigo. This community has really taken me in and supported me so much and I just love our fans, teammates and this amazing stadium,” Payne said.
“I’m really excited to have a chance to defend our title and I can’t wait to get started with the rest of the group.”
During the 2018 season Payne averaged 22.1 points per game at 50 per cent shooting average, 9.4 rebounds per game, was chosen as the team’s MVP and was named on the SEABL All-Star 5.
“I’m excited to see what another season brings,” Payne said.
“I will be in a different position at times throughout the season which will be a nice adjustment for me and will add a lot of different things to my game.”
Payne continued her top form during the 2018/19 WNBL season with the Bendigo Spirit, finishing with an average of 14 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Payne praised former Bendigo Spirit coach Simon Pritchard for helping increase her aggression on the court.
“I will be more aggressive and have a stronger attacking mindset this year,” Payne said.
Braves coach Megan Moody said Payne had the ideal attributes to be selected for this season’s roster.
“Nadeen is a quality player, leader and teammate,” Moody said.
You simply can’t go past these attributes when you are putting together a roster to defend a championship.”
The Braves won the 2018 SEABL championship after they defeated the Launceston Tornadoes by 23 points.
The championship win was the Braves’ 23rd overall victory from 24 games during the 2018 season.
The SEABL has since disbanded and the club will play in a new state league in 2019, which has yet to be named.
“There has been a few additions to teams throughout the league and like any season we will go in with a hard-working mentality and not worry about pressure from the outside,” Payne said.
“We will focus on ourselves and the style of game we want to play which will be decided when our full group is together.
“If certain players come back to the team we will be held to a high standard and we know what we will all expect from each other.”
Also recently announced was the return of Commonwealth Games gold medalist and former WNBL player Tessa Lavey to the Braves for the 2019 season.
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