The Melbourne Boomers and the Bendigo Spirit will do battle at the Minerdome in September in the lead-up to the 2016/17 Women’s National Basketball League season.
Nanjing Night Net

The fixture to be held on September 17 will cap-off a three-day community camp in Ballarat which will includeplayer and coach education clinics as well as workshops for Ballarat Basketball staff.

Ballarat’s Molly Mathews warms up with the Bendigo Spirit before last year’s exhibition match at the Minerdome. Picture: Kate Healy.

Yuille Park Community College will also benefit from the exhibition match, with players from the Boomers set to hold a workshop for students during their visit.

It is the second year in a row Basketball Ballarat has hosted practice WNBL matches. In September 2015 the Spirit took on both the Boomers and the Spirit and the Perth Lynx at the Minerdome.

Ballarat Basketball chief executive Peter Eddy said the exhibition match would provide people in Western Victoria with an opportunity to see some of the state’s best basketball talent in action.

“When we bring these things to town it’s got the added bonus of allowing people throughout Western Victoria to attend event you would usually only get in Melbourne.”

The event will feature a number of players who have become regular features at the Minerdome through their involvement with the Rush.

Rush Co-captain Kerryn Harrington will again suit up for the Bendigo Spirit, while fellow Rush teammates Molly Mathews and Ashleigh Spencer will also feature in Bendigo colours in the 2016/17 season.

Rush rising star Kasey Burton earned a place on the Boomers’ development list in 2015, and will again be hoping to feature on the roster for the 2016/17 season.

The Boomers are coached by ex-Miners coach Guy Molloy, while Spirit coach Simon Pitchard has made a number of visits to Ballarat throughout the year to work with Rush players. Eddy said Basketball Ballarat had developed a strong relationship with both clubs, which had helped to create a pathway for talented youngsters to pursue professional basketball.

“Previously we have tried to get interstate teams play in the exhibition matches, but we see Bendigo as the team for regional Victoria and we’re really trying to build that relationship,” Eddy said.

“We’re fortunate we’ve got relationships with these two great programs and we don’t hesitate to tell the girls to pursue either direction.

The event will be held a week after NBL sides Melbourne United and the Cairns Taipans face off at the Minerdome.

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