With many changes, the team is feeling ready for the start of the ABL season in just over four weeks. Having already announced the return of players Cara Boothey, Chelsea Roberts, Jordan Walker-Roberts, Lisa Ackroyd and Phoebe Custance and WNBL players Kelsey Ireland and Rachel Herrick, the core group who finished the season with 18 wins and 2 losses retains a good level of stability. Added to this are star young players Jessica Good, Megan Pritchard and Dusty Rodda as well as Tess Keenan who is returning from injury.
Jess Foley has indicated that she will not be re-signing with the Lady Flames due to work commitments.
Head Coach Simon Pritchard has needed to sign a replacement for Foley, and Amy Lewis will replace Jess Foley in the Bendigo Bank Lady Flames outfit for 2012 ABL season.
Amy was a member of the 2007 Australian U21 Sapphire and U19 Gems squads. Amy attended Troy University for 4 years and during this time had a highly distinguished career leading a number of stats for scoring 3 points, rebounds and assists. After college and before returning to Australia she attended two trials with WNBA Club Phoenix Mercury. Amy won bronze with Australia at the 2009 World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. 2010 Amy played for the Ballarat Lady Miners in the SEABL.
She currently is a starting guard with the Adelaide Lightning averaging 9.2 pts 3.5 reb and 2.7 assists per game. Adelaide currently are top of the WNBL ladder with fianls in 2 weeks time.
Amy is looking forward to joining the Bendigo Bank Lady Flames at the conclusion of the WNBL season.
When asked about the upcoming season Lewis said “Obviously my focus right now is with Lightning commitments and the finals series that will be happening very soon, however I am still excited about being part of the Lady flames in the upcoming ABL season. I already know a lot of the girls in the team and it will be great to play along side Kelsey and Rach again. Norwood is a very respected club in the ABL and I look forward to pulling on the jersey and working hard to achieve success with my new club
Simon Pritchard said this about his newest recruit, “I’ve known Amy for the last 6 months. She works incredibly hard at her game and will bring a level of enthusiasm and professionalism to the squad which our younger players will be immersed in. Her ability to penetrate to the basket will be hard for other teams to match up on. I think what Amy will bring to the program is an excitement and energy plus a very clear idea of where she wants her career to go. She’s a very talented perimeter player and by adding Amy to the mix we will have a very good back court line-up alongside Kelsey Ireland and Phoebe Custance.
“I think Amy will come in and make an immediate impact, she is very strong defender and potential scorer she is very team focused. She will fit in really well with the girls we have here, and the people at Norwood are really going to warm to her. We’re hopeful that this won’t be just a one year type situation, the Norwood program is one where we like to retain players as we did with Jess Foley.”
The Benidgo Bank Lady Flames also welcome ex University of Massachusetts and North Adelaide Forward Marisa Stabile to the team for 2012.
Marisa has been playing with the Adelaide Lightning this season and is determined to break into the main rotation over the next year. She was a member of the undefeated SA U 20 Women’s team that won the National Championships in Adelaide in 2010 and is looking forward to playing with her new squad.
Marisa spoke about the forthcoming season.
“I am really excited about the upcoming season with the Lady Flames. The past 7 months training with the Lightning has been an incredible experience and will hopefully put me in good shape for the ABL season. Training with the likes of Suzy Batkovic, Abby Bishop and Jo Hill has been great for my development and I have gained plenty of knowledge from them. I believe I can take what I have learnt from these girls and continue to develop my skills this season. I am excited to continue working along side Amy Lewis, Kelsey Ireland and Rachael Herrick and also with the other squad members as I have worked with a number of them through state and SASI programs. Simon and Brenton coached me through my U20 state program and I really enjoyed working with them. I’m looking forward to what the season holds!”
Simon Pritchard said ‘We are really excited with the development of Marisa’s game over the last 3 years, she has both a perimeter and post game and will provide an athletic rebounder and scoring punch for us in the 4 spot. Marisa knows that she must continue to learn the more advanced skills in her position and we are keen for her to develop those skills with us. He added “Marisa will be relied upon to do so much of the blue collar work in the team, a role she is highly capable of.
The season kicks off on the 31 of March with the Bendigo Bank Lady Flames hosting Central Districts at MARS.