WNBL 16/17: The latest trades and biggest signings
The WNBL 2016/17 season may not have begun yet, but it is well and truly under way with plenty of big name’s secured during the off-season’s trade period.
Who can you expect to see in your teams colours? Check out all the action and names below:
The Adelaide Lightning have had a quiet trade period so far, however scored a major coup by signing 2-time championship winning coach Chris Lucas.
The reigning championship coach will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge as he returns to his former club, where he led the Lightning to three straight finals appearances in his three seasons.
The Lightning have also re-signed Betty Watson Rookie of the Year Alex Ciabattoni and Jessica Good.
The Bendigo Spirit are looking like a more fast-paced team if the signings they’ve made in the off-season are anything to go off. The Spirit have signed WNBA point guard Blake Dietrick to replace the departing Kelly Wilson. Dietrick at 180cm brings talent from the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and Italy’s premier women’s basketball competition.
Power forward Nadeen Payne has signed a new deal with the Spirit after coming off a healthy finals campaign last year with the SEQ Stars.
Canadian international Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe will also join the Spirit, after leading TSV 1880 Wasserburg to the German title last season where she averaged more than 14 points a game.
University of Hawaii NCAA guard and former Australian under-19 representative Ashleigh Karaitiana will help bolster the Spirit’s dynamic looking side.
Point guard Kerryn Harrington and tough-nut Heather Oliver have penciled contracts to extend their stay with the Spirit alongside veteran Gabe Richards and Ashleigh Spencer.
UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA CAPITALS
The Canberra Capitals are shaping up to be the team to beat with some positive contract signings over the off-period, none more notable than the signing of a new head coach in Paul Goriss. Goriss brings over a decade’s worth of experience as an internationally renowned senior coach at the AIS.
The Capitals begun their new-look list with the signing of former SEQ Stars point guard Lauren Mansfield and Adelaide Lightning forward Mikaela Ruef.
Mansfield enjoyed a breakout season last year, stepping in to the main point guard role for SEQ Stars in the absence of Erin Phillips. Mansfield proved her capabilities in the role and became one of the most dynamic point guards in the league.
Much like Mansfield, Ruef also had a stellar season last year with the Lightning and cemented herself as one of the dominant power forwards in the league.
In a huge signing, Australian Opal Marianna Tolo will re-join her old club where she took home two WNBL Championships and a MVP award. Tolo will bring a wealth of experience and a big target inside the paint to the Caps as their go-to forward.
Kate Gaze will also join the Capitals, fresh off a WNBL Championship with the Townsville Fire. Gaze will bring a quality shooting target from beyond the arc.
Former Australian junior and forward Keely Froling will also join the capitals (and her twin sister Alicia) after playing college basketball for the Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Froling has averaged 18 points and 9 rebounds a game for the Bendigo Lady Braves in this year’s SEABL competition.
Youngster Steph Bairstow also joins the Capitals after recent stints for Utah State University. Bairstow was sidelined due to injury in the last season for the SEQ Stars, but is enjoying a healthy and dominant season with the Brisbane Lady Spartans averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds a game.
The Capitals have also re-signed veteran Carly Wilson for 1 season.
In a major deal, Dandenong have secured WNBA Washington Mystics player and 2015 #8 draft pick Ally Malott. The forward is averaging 9 minutes a game in the WNBA, giving her some quality experience against some of the world’s best.
WNBL Champion with the Townsville Fire, Natalie Novosel will return to the Rangers for the 2016/17 season. Novosel brings a quick paced, athletic game and a physical ability to get points on the board consistently.
Re-signing with the Rangers is WNBL veteran Jacinta Kennedy, alongside Sara Blicavs, Steph Cumming, Lauren Scherf, Aimie Clydesdale, Amelia Todhunter and Chloe Bibby.
The Boomers have bolstered their list and looked to the future, recently signing Monique Conti who is fresh off a Gold medal winning effort at the U/17 Word Championships with the Australian Sapphires. Conti may be small, but her basketball talent goes far beyond her height.
WNBA veteran Chante Black will also join the Boomers, bringing a new target inside the paint and is expected to be a scoring machine. Black is a top 10 pick from the 2009 WNBA draft and has played for the likes of Connecticut, Tulsa and San Antonio.
The Boomers have also added WNBL familiar face Tegan Cunningham to their list, in an effort to bring speed and a competitive edge to their game.
The Boomers have successfully re-signed most of their list, with Elyse Penaluna, Alice Kunek, Bec Cole, Maddie Garrick, Olivia Thompson and Brittany Smart all penciling in new deals.
The Perth Lynx have added WNBA Champion Monica Wright to their side in a huge addition to their strong list. Wright was selected at pick #2 in 2010 WNBA draft, and has since won the illustrious WNBA Championship twice with the Minnesota Lynx in 2011 and 2013, now playing for the Seattle Storm.
The Lynx have also secured Dallas Wings rookie Ruth Hamblin as their second imported player. Hamblin was selected at pick #18 in the WNBA draft earlier this year and is enjoying her first season with the Dallas Wings.
Re-signing with the Lynx from the previous year is Australian Opal Nat Burton, alongside Toni Edmondson and Carley Mijovic.
SYDNEY UNI FLAMES
The Sydney Uni Flames have signed Cheryl Chambers as their new head coach for the next 2 seasons after her numerous years of experience in coaching roles at the Melbourne (and Bulleen) Boomers.
The Flames have secured Lauren Nicholson, who will return to the Flames after a successful career with Saint Mary’s College where she led the college side to two All-West Coast Conference Team Selections. Nicholson was apart of the Flames’ side from 2009 till 2011.
Australian superstar Jenna O’hea is tipped to sign a deal with the Flames very soon in an exciting prospect for the entire league.
Re-signing for the Flames is Hayley Moffatt, Alex Wilson, Carly Boag and Tahlia Tupaea.
The Townsville Fire signed former assistant coach and former player Claudia Brassard as their new head coach in the wake of Chris Lucas’ departure. Her past three seasons as assistant coach give her the experience and knowledge to be able to take the top job.
The reigning WNBL Champions have secured guard Kelly Wilson, who will return to the Fire after spending the past eight seasons with Bendigo. Wilson led the Spirit to three Grand Finals, winning two championships in those times. Wilson was also apart of the Australian Opals Oceania series campaign and helped secure the Opals spot in Rio.
The Fire have also signed WNBA rising star Natasha Cloud who is having a stellar breakout season in the league for the Washington Mystics.
Kayla Standish will return to the Fire after missing the last season and joining the Lightning as a mid-season recruit.
Re-signing with the Fire is emerging star Jacqui Zelenka alongside reigning Rachel Sporn Award winner Micaela Cocks, Darcee Garbin and Mia Murray.
Stay up to date on all the latest signings with the WNBL Free Agency Tracker.
Thank you for loving Aussie hoops! From Kein, Damian and #TeamPnR