Boomers 2022/23 WNBL roster unveiled
By Hayley Wildes
The Deakin Melbourne Boomers took all before us last season on their way to claiming the 2022 WNBL Championship and as the countdown begins to season 2022/23, the Boomers have put together a roster that sends a serious message to the rest of the WNBL that they mean business once again.
Headlined by returning Championship-winning stars in Cayla George, Tess Madgen and Tiffany Mitchell, and key role players, there will be some fresh faces joining the team and the names are sure to give the Boomer faithful plenty to be excited about.
Taking over the coaching reigns from Guy Molloy is Chris Lucas, who joins the Boomers from the Adelaide Lightning, and his basketball resume speaks for itself with multiple WNBL Championships and nearly 30 years of experience coaching women’s basketball.
The Boomers are thrilled to welcome one of the rising stars of Australian basketball, Kristy Wallace. Wallace, currently playing for the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA and an Opals squad member, will bring a relentless attitude to the roster. Wallace claimed WNBL Sixth Woman of the Year honours last season playing for the Southside Flyers and her dedication to the game is unquestioned after overcoming a plethora of serious injuries in recent years to fight her way back to the top of her game and now be playing the best basketball of her young career.
Wallace has been a key member of the Dream this season averaging 25 minutes per game in her WNBA rookie season. Wallace is one of the premier defensive guards in Australia and combined with Madgen in the backcourt, opposition teams will have their hands full trying to contain the pair of Opal guards.
Adding further frontcourt depth to the Boomers roster is the addition of WNBL legend Mia Murray. Murray has enjoyed an illustrious WNBL career, which started in 2006 playing for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and has so far produced three WNBL Championships (2015, 2016 and 2018) and a WNBL Grand Final MVP (2015) while playing for the Townsville Fire.
Murray will be looking to add yet another Championship to her already extensive and impressive resume, which also includes over 300 WNBL games of experience. She knows what it takes to win in the WNBL, and her Championship pedigree will be invaluable as the Boomers look to go back-to-back.
After claiming their second Championship in club history last season, the Boomers have kept a core group together with nine athletes returning to defend the title, highlighting the tremendous culture within the Boomers program.
George, Madgen, Mitchell, Penina Davidson, Lou Brown, Lily Scanlon and Rachel Brewster all return, while Victorian young gun Sophie Burrows and Lauryn Hippolite from NZ return as development players.
Championship winning Captain Cayla George had a stellar 2021/22 WNBL season George once again proved her importance as a leader and at both ends of the court for the Boomers and was named to the All-WNBL Second Team, averaging 14 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game in the Boomers’ Championship season.
Madgen tasted Championship success for the first time in her career last season and was a vital piece of the Boomers’ puzzle with her ability to create her own shot and also defend the best guards in the league. Madgen is another key leader on and off the court and was recently named to the Opals leadership group ahead of the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Sydney in September.
WNBA star Mitchell immediately made a name for herself in the WNBL last season as she burst onto the scene with dominant early season performances as her athleticism wowed fans across the country. She continued to consistently produce great numbers, finishing with averages of 15 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Currently playing for the Indiana Fever in the WNBA – her seventh season with the team – Mitchell has career averages of 10 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in the WNBA.
Davidson – a star of the New Zealand Tall Ferns national team – returns for her fourth season with the Boomers and has proven to be a valuable asset in Melbourne, contributing 15 minutes per game during last season’s title run. Davidson is the heart and soul of the Tall Ferns program, and earlier this year was named NZ Player of the Year at the 2022 Basketball New Zealand Awards after a stellar FIBA Asia Cup campaign in which she averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Brewster, Brown and Scanlon have proven themselves to be strong role players and they’ll be back looking for more opportunities to showcase their development with the Boomers this season. All three bring crucial energy to the team and are always ready to step up when their number is called.
The Boomers have one senior roster position to recruit internationally, and this decision will complete the roster in the end up to pre-season commencing in December.
It’s time to get behind your team, Melbourne! With Opals’ and USA superstars suiting up for the Boomers, and the ultimate goal of back-to-back WNBL Championships, the 2022/23 season promises to be one not to be missed.
Melbourne Boomers 2022/23 WNBL roster:
Penina Davidson (NZ)
Tiffany Mitchell (USA)
Sophie Burrows (Development Player)
Lauryn Hippolite (Development Player – NZ)
Images courtesy of Getty/Basketball Australia