Oliver, Griffin back for more as duo set to shine for Opals

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The Australian Pork Bendigo Spirit has announced the re-signing of Under 21 Australian guard Heather Oliver for the coming WNBL season.

The 27 year old had a breakout season last year, adding significant offensive capability to her already strong defensive style.

The former Wangaratta girl says she is excited about the coming season. “I am really happy with what Simon Pritchard has in store for us,” she said. “We have all been really impressed so far and I think Spirit fans are in for another big year.

“It is great to be able to once again play for what is my local WNBL team. Regional Victoria is a key focus for this club and I’m happy I can continue, with Gabe, to help keep that commitment strong.”

Coach Simon Pritchard said Oliver was a key signing for the team. “I watched Heather very closely last year and I was impressed with her improvement,” he said.

“She is part of that key core group of players who took The Spirit to the Grand Final last year and her experience and talent will go a long way to helping us do what we want to do this year.”

In other Spirit news, WNBL All Star Five player and league Defensive Player of the Year Kelsey Griffin has spoken for the first time about her excitement for the coming season.

“I am excited about coming back to play another season with the Bendigo Spirit,” she said.

“I am looking forward to seeing all The Spirit fans in the stands for what I hope will be another exciting and successful season.

“I would personally like to thank Bernie, Kristi and Kylee Harrower for everything they have done, helping me with my basketball career over the past three years.”

The Oliver signing was also an opportunity to wish Kelly Wilson and Belinda Snell the best of luck for the upcoming European tour.

“Snelly has done it all before at such a high level, and we are really rapt to have her with us for the coming season and I know the Opals think the same way,” Pritchard said.

“Kelly will enjoy another chance to play at the highest level and we can’t wait to have her on board as well this year in our starting five.

“We hope both Snelly and Kelly show the world how good we know they are.”