Boomers 22-23 Season Preview

November 1, 2022 | Melbourne Boomers news

By Hayley Wildes

It’s time to defend the WNBL championship and the Deakin Melbourne Boomers are ready for the fight. After breaking through and securing a historic championship last year, the Boomers will look to keep that winning feeling going when the season tips off in Perth on Wednesday night in a Grand Final re-match.

The Boomers have a team filled with Australian Opals and international stars, all of whom have come together with one common goal in mind: winning the 2022/23 WNBL championship.

After tipping off their season on the road, the Boomers return home to take on the Adelaide Lightning in Parkville on Sunday 13 November, where the 2021/22 WNBL championship banner will be unveiled in front of the Boomer faithful. It’s sure to be an unforgettable afternoon!

The home-opener will also see new head coach Chris Lucas face his former Adelaide side for the first time. Lucas brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Boomers, having been involved in women’s basketball for almost three decades.

While some thought Melbourne would be left reeling the loss of superstars Ezi Magbegor and Lindsay Allen, the Boomers instead got straight to work by signing Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Kristy Wallace, both of whom are tremendous talents on both ends of the court.

Those two join the likes of Cayla George, Tess Madgen and Tiffany Mitchell, who were all critical in last season’s championship run. Three-time WNBL champion Mia Murray has also joined the squad, with Penina Davidson, Rachel Brewster, Lou Brown and Lily Scanlon all back on deck to help defend the crown.

When it comes to young, dynamic bigs, Nelson-Ododa is absolutely world class and after a strong rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Sparks, she will have a huge role to play in Melbourne’s frontcourt alongside Cayla George.

Nelson-Ododa’s length and athleticism is key to her outstanding defensive ability, and she will cause plenty of disruption on that end of the court. Speaking of defensive disruption, Australian Opal Kristy Wallace is the prime example of that as she hunts opposing guards every defensive possession.

She simply doesn’t take a possession off and after claiming 2022 WNBL Sixth Woman of the Year honours playing for the Southside Flyers last season, she’s made the move across town to bring energy and relentlessness to the Boomers.

Wallace set the recent World Cup alight whenever she checked into the game, providing the Opals with an invaluable boost as they claimed a memorable bronze medal in Sydney. George and Madgen were major factors in Australia’s bronze medal run and both will be hoping to add more silverware with the Boomers this season.

George is the ultimate big that can handle the ball, stretch the floor with outside shooting and also command double teams in the paint which creates more space for teammates to operate in. George’s signature energy will be key as the Boomers look to fend off opposition teams who will be hoping to bring down the defending champions at every opportunity.

Madgen will unfortunately miss at least the first month of the season as she recovers from recent knee surgery, but once she returns, the Boomers will be running on all cylinders towards the business end of the season.

Madgen is the type of player that lifts those around her and her leadership as Opals captain at the World Cup had a massive positive effect on the team. She’s selfless, competitive and can shoot the lights out on any given night.

The return of Mitchell speaks volumes to the Boomers program, and it’s obvious the American star enjoyed her time in Melbourne last season. Her athleticism wowed fans across the country and she quickly endeared herself to Boomers fans with her electrifying play. Whether the team needs a bucket or a defensive stop, Mitchell will take on any task and more often than win the battle.

Mitchell returns after another impressive WNBA campaign with the Indiana Fever. Despite playing less minutes than previous seasons, Mitchell had the most efficient season of her 7-year WNBA career, shooting career-high percentages on field goals (45%) and triples (38.7%). Look for her to be an inside and outside threat this season with the Boomers.

Boomers fans will have the opportunity to watch their team play blockbuster games all season long, with some tantalising match-ups.

There are 10 home games, with the Melbourne derby at the State Basketball Centre against the Flyers in Round 2, the unveiling of the championship banner at the home-opener, the traditional Christmas game at the State Basketball Centre, plus much more to keep everyone entertained!

With three games against cross-town rivals Southside, Melbourne basketball fans are in for a treat.

Cayla George v Lauren Jackson will be the headline battle, but with Kristy Wallace playing against her former team and taking on the likes of Bec Cole and Maddy Rocci, as well as Olivia Nelson-Ododa facing Abby Bishop, there will be no shortage of thrilling match-ups.

After the traditional Christmas game, against Adelaide on December 22 at the State Basketball Centre, a New Year’s Eve clash in Townsville against the Fire rounds out 2022.

When the calendar turns to 2023, it signals the start of an epic period of basketball for fans across Victoria, with five Boomer home games in the first five weeks of the year, highlighted by a Melbourne Derby against Southside, the annual Gippsland home game against Canberra and Jade Melbourne, and two meetings against Bendigo, who will be led once again by reigning WNBL MVP Anneli Maley.

The stage is set for season 2022/23, and with a roster that boasts local and international talent of the highest level, there’s never been a better time to get behind the Boomers as they look to return to the top of the mountain once again.