Bendigo Spirit shows strength during WNBL pre-season, York pleased with team's development

POINT GUARD: Shyla Heal will bring several years of experience as an Australian national player to her debut season with the Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
POINT GUARD: Shyla Heal will bring several years of experience as an Australian national player to her debut season with the Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

The Bendigo Spirit squad is in top form in the lead-up to the start of the 2019/20 WNBL season.

The squad has shown its strength in the pre-season with multiple victories.

Tracy York, who is in her first year as head coach of the Spirit, was pleased with the performance of the team.

"At this stage it's about establishing our process and style of play, we're getting there and I'm very happy with where we are at the moment," York said.

"The team is coming together well but we haven't played every team at their full strength yet."

Tracy York. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Tracy York. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

The Spirit has won all three of its pre-season games, with victories over China, Melbourne Boomers and Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence.

The 2019/20 Spirit team has a mixture of both experienced and new players.

"To have both Kelly Wilson and Gabe Richards back on the team is huge for myself and Bendigo," York said.

Both Wilson and Richards came back to the Spirit after a strong season in the NBL1 with the Bendigo Braves, with the team falling short of back-to-back championships after a three-point loss to the Geelong Supercats in the preliminary final.

"They are both great leaders and with the mixture of players that have remained from last year and our new players, it's all coming together very well," York said.

"It's essential to have a combination of both youth and experience on a team, and myself, I've coached for quite a while so we're blending it all together."

One of the new youth players is Shyla Heal, the daughter of former Australian Boomer Shane Heal.

"Shyla is a clear up and coming point-guard for Australia and no doubt she will give us some great quality minutes in addition to Bella Stratford who is another of our younger ones...this season will be a great learning experience for her," York said.

Heal has experience representing Australia at the under-17 Oceania Championships in Guam and was a member of the under-19 2019 Gems team.

The Bendigo Spirit played its final pre-season game against the NBL1 women's All-Star team tonight.

The Spirit will start the 2019/20 season with a home game against the Melbourne Boomers at the Bendigo Stadium on October 12, tip-off at 7pm.

In round two the Spirit has a double-header which includes a rematch against the Boomers in Melbourne, followed by a home game against the Perth Lynx.

This story Bendigo Spirit squad shows strength during WNBL pre-season first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.