The Bendigo Bank Spirit has added experienced guard Chantella Perera to its roster for the 2012-13 WNBL season.
Perera, who played with Bulleen Boomers last season, is in the midst of a superb SEABL season for the Kilsyth Cobras.
The athletic 26-year-old is leading the competition in points per game with 19.8, just ahead of her new Spirit team-mate Kelly Wilson, who is averaging 19.5 points playing for Knox.
Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said 176cm Perera will bring an extra scoring option to the club, plus the versatility to play as a point or shooting guard, or as a small forward.
“Her form in the SEABL this year has been outstanding, Kelly’s (Wilson) right there as well, so we’ll have two of the leading scorers in the competition suiting-up for the Spirit this year,” Harrower said.
“She can play between one, two and three spots, she’s super athletic and the team we’re trying to put together for this year will be an athletic team.
“She’s a tall guard, she’s quick – she’s one of the quickest players in the league – and certainly a good defender.”
Perera brings 109 games of WNBL experience to Bendigo from stints with some of the competition’s powerhouse teams – Bulleen, Canberra and Dandenong.
She joined Dandenong after her US college career at Fresno State, before moving to Canberra where she won championships in 2009 and 2010.
Through limited court time with her previous teams Perera’s career averages of 5.1 points, 1.3 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game are lower than her ability suggests.
Harrower said she will get more opportunities to play and be called-upon to score more by the Spirit.
“In my teams I require everybody to be a scorer,” he said.
“There’s no designated scorers for us – we have our go-to players like everybody does – but my philosophy on the game is give me seven or eight people getting 10 (points) each and we’ll win a lot of games.
“If you can spread your scoring load throughout your team it’s a lot harder to shut you down, it’s been a trait of how I’ve coached over the years and this year will be no different to that.”
By adding Perera to its roster, the Spirit now has three guards – including Jane Chalmers – who could help cover the gaping hole that would be left if Kristi Harrower retires after the London Olympics.
“As much as she’s doing really well with the Opals – her training camp’s been pretty good – there’s always that possibility she won’t play (for the Spirit), there’s always that possibility she could get injured,” Bernie Harrower said of his daughter.
“She’s only one major injury away from her career being over and keeping the fingers crossed, touching the wood and doing everything else we’ll be pretty keen to have her to re-sign.
“We’ll know more about that when the Olympics are over.”
Harrower said he has been speaking to “two or three players” about joining Chalmers, Wilson, Perera and Gabe Richards on the Spirit’s roster for next season.
“We believe that we’re putting together a pretty competitive team, if the chemistry’s right and people knock down shots we’ll be as good, if not better, than we were last year,” he said.