Opals star Tolo signs with Spirit in massive coup

26 June 2024 | Bendigo Spirit news

Bendigo Spirit are delighted to announce the massive signing of Australian Opals star and four-time WNBL champion Marianna Tolo.

The former WNBA centre and Tokyo 2020 Olympian will add a wealth of experience to the Spirit roster for the 2024-25 season.

The 34-year-old joins from Spanish outfit, Spar Girona, and was most recently named ‘Most Impressive Player’ of the Opals tour to Japan, where she averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists over the two game series.

Tolo is excited to link up with long-time former Canberra teammate Kelsey Griffin in Bendigo, as well as head coach Kennedy Kereama who has coached her at NBL1 level.

“I’m excited to get to Bendigo and start a new journey under Kennedy. I’ve had experience being coached by him previously in the NBL1 and I look forward to working with him again,” Tolo said.

“Additionally, I’m excited to be playing with one of my closest friends in Kelsey. She is the ultimate professional and I think we play well together.

“Finally, I’m looking forward to getting to know the Bendigo region better. I’m hoping to find some gold off the court, as well as on!”

Spirit head coach Kennedy Kereama was rapt to finally land Tolo, revealing the dual WNBL All-Star Five member and 2017 Defensive Player of the Year had been on his radar for a couple of years.

“Tolo has been on my radar for the past two years, so we are very excited to have finally recruited her here to Bendigo,” Kereama said.

“Having coached against Tolo internationally and coached her at NBL1 level, I can attest to her work ethic, professionalism, leadership and skills.

“Her ability to defend the rim, rebound, anchor a team defensively, block shots, set screens, rim run, finish in multiple ways, and pass the ball will enhance our performance at both ends of the court.

“Tolo’s international and WNBL experience will be a significant asset to our program. Reuniting her with Kelsey Griffin, a proven winning combination, will elevate our team with Tolo’s leadership and winning mentality.

“Tolo has a track record of success, most recently reaching the finals with her team Spar Girona and winning four WNBL championships. We look forward to welcoming her once pre-season begins.”