The Bendigo Spirit's pre-season is done and dusted.
It's now time for the WNBL 2019/20 season to tip-off this weekend.
First up for the Spirit is an opening round match against one of its biggest rivals, the Melbourne Boomers.
One of the team's latest recruits, Shyla Heal said the team had planned to make a statement to the league with an opening win over the Boomers.
"If we can beat the Boomers in both games we will be happy," Heal said.
Heal is the daughter of former Australian Boomer Shane Heal and came to the Spirit after one year with the Perth Lynx which saw her on the sidelines for most of the season after she sustained an injury to her left foot.
"I'm all recovered now, it happened almost a year ago and I've been doing plenty of rehab to make sure it doesn't happen again," Heal said.
The Spirit was undefeated in all of its pre-season games, but more importantly the matches gave the squad time to gel together before the season proper.
"Having the pre-season games gave us a taste of what the rest of the year is going to be like," Heal said.
"We're all getting together very well...and at our final training session we will touch on all of the things we need to improve before the game.
"But we will all go out on the court to have some fun, do our best and the wins will come."
Spirit coach Tracy York was pleased with how the team progressed through pre-season.
"We've had five good solid weeks of pre-season matches where we pushed the ball, played good defense and worked together offensively," York said.
In perspective of the entire line-up of WNBL teams this season, York's immediate focus was on the squad's first two matches against the Boomers.
"Every team is built-up and strong...but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves as the Boomers are our focus for the first two games," York said.
Success is almost always measured in relation to victories, which is no doubt an aim for York.
However, her aim was to also "develop the culture and longevity of the group with success both on and off the floor".
The starting-five for the weekend at this stage looks to include Kelly Wilson, Tessa Lavey, Becca Tobin, Carley Ernst and import Martè Grays.
"Personally this season I want to grow as a player and get some experience under my belt," Grays said.
"I'm excited to be here and blessed for the opportunity."
Grays just finished up at University of DePaul, in Chicago, Illinois playing college basketball and had already noticed differences in the style of play in Australia.
Grays said her style of play was "to get up and down the floor" quickly.
"Coming from college ball it's very different, but in a way it's better suited to me so I can grow," Grays said.
Bendigo Spirit host the Melbourne Boomers at home this Saturday night at the Bendigo Stadium, tip-off at 7pm.
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