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Depth and experience the key to Melbourne's WNBL success
The Deakin Melbourne Boomers are looking to make amends for their early exit from the 2019 WNBL finals race when they open their 2020 championship campaign on the road against the Bendigo Spirit on Saturday night.
The Boomers, who went 15-6 last season to lock in second place in the standings behind eventual champion UC Capitals, were bundled out of the semi-finals 2-0 by the Adelaide Lightning. Boomers co-captain Maddie Garrick is hoping that her team's depth and experience will enable them to be able to not only qualify for the finals, but contend for the WNBL title this season.
“It’s a good time to re-build, re-evaluate and work on what you needed to from last season,” said Garrick in an official release.
“We’ve got New Zealand and Australian international players, Lindsay [Allen] and Sophie [Cunningham] coming in from America. There is a lot of experience and depth, and I think we’re going to be really strong this season.”
Garrick is joined by co-captain Cayla George who is fresh off a bronze medal winning performance at the 2019 FIBA Asia Cup. She too was excited by the roster assembled, and the potential her side has on the eve of the season opener.
“I feel like here in Melbourne, we’re creating a really great culture and its exciting - I’m looking forward to getting out there and showcasing what we’re working hard to bring out on court," George shared.
George is especially excited at the prospect of co-captaining alongside Garrick, as the dynamic duo look to lead from the front with their boundless energy and determination.
“It’s crazy how much on the same wavelength Mads and I are – we really have a good vibe, which we will in turn bring out to the team and create a really great culture,” added George.
The Boomers will open the season with back-to-back games against Bendigo Spirit, before taking on the UC Capitals down in Geelong in round three.
Melbourne and Bendigo clashed in a preseason encounter in the LaTrobe Valley, with the Spirit earning a two-point win. Lindsay Allen returns to the fold after being named to the league's All-Star Five last season. After former captain Jenna O'Hea having moved across to the Southside Flyers, the Boomers made the decision to add WNBA star Sophie Cunningham to bolster their depth.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, the league again is getting stronger, and again this year we have great imports that have come out, we really have to be on our game every week," enthused George.
"We’re going to try to put ourselves in the best possible position to look good for the finals. The championship is always the end goal, and that starts on Saturday night in Bendigo."