Molly Comes Of Age In Short Stint With Spirit

Akuna Photography

COURT time has been a rare commodity for Bendigo Bank Spirit newcomer Molly Mathews during the 2015-16 WNBL season.

But that’s not to say the experience has been anything short of invaluable.

The youngest member of the Spirit squad Mathews turns 21 today.

The former Australian under 19 team representative said she had learned more in the space of a few months with the Spirit than during any other phase of her blossoming career.

“I knew coming in I wouldn’t be a big part of the team as far as playing time, but the development opportunity has been awesome,” she said.

“I’m loving it – I’m learning so much each and every training session and experiencing what game day is like in the WNBL with all these amazing players.

“And I’m learning under some fantastic coaching staff.”

Mathews, who has been playing basketball since she was eight, is a rare breed of sportsperson who has gotten to play alongside her idol.

“Not many people get to say that get to train and learn from three-time Olympians (Belinda Snell) and people who have played in the WNBA – it’s crazy,” she said.

“I have to pinch myself sometimes.

“People ask me ‘who’s your favourite player’, and I might be a bit biased, but Kelsey Griffin is unreal.

“I have loved her since I was little – she’s great.”

Despite minimal court time, Mathews was confident her game had improved since joining the Spirit from SEABL club the Ballarat Rush.

“There are times where I have a lot to learn, but I don’t feel so much out of my league when I am training against the girls,” she said.

“But I’m not going to know until I go back and play SEABL and see where I’m at and get more court time.”

Mathews, the Ballarat Sportsgirl of the Year in 2010 and a regular Victorian Country representative in her teenage years, will rejoin the Rush at the end of the WNBL season, where she will player under Spirit assistant coach David Flint.

She will be joined in Ballarat by Spirit teammate Ashleigh Spencer, who will be playing SEABL for the first time.

Mathews averaged five points and 3.1 rebounds in 22 appearances for the Rush last season.

But before she ventures back to Ballarat, Mathews’ focus remains solely on doing what she can to to help the Spirit qualify for finals, starting against the Adelaide Lightning on Sunday.

The Spirit enter the week 17 encounter at Bendigo Stadium one game outside the top four, with three games to play.

Mathews is resolute in her belief the team is good enough to be part of the finals action.

“I think the group we have is very experienced,” she said.

“As long as we do the little things right and make sure we are supporting each other, we should be fine.

“If we can get these next three games under our belt, we’ll go into the finals in a very strong position.”

Article: Kieran Iles, Bendigo Advertiser
Photo: Steve Blake, Akuna Photography

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