Bendigo Bank Spirit coach Simon Pritchard is building his 2016-17 WNBL team around toughness, and they don’t come any tougher than the club’s newest recruit.
Former Australian Under 19 player Ashleigh Karaitiana has joined the Spirit, fresh from a stint with the University of Hawaii in the NCAA.
Pritchard said the 182cm guard is a strong shooter and has a defensive game the envy of a lot of players.
“Last season in Hawaii she took more than 20 charges on defence, while fouling out only four times for the year,” he said.
“She scored double figures 21 times, a team high, and led the block count in four games.
“Ashleigh is a special player, a real threat at both ends of the court. She will fit in well with the style of play we are looking developing for this coming season.”
Ashleigh was born in New Zealand and plays for the Brisbane Spartans in the SEABL. In her last game, she scored 14 pts against the Bendigo Braves and hit three from four from outside the arc.
“It was an easy decision to become a part of the Bendigo Spirit this season with Simon’s persistence during my last year at college,” she said.
“I am especially looking forward to playing with Kerryn Harrington and Nadeen Payne again, the last time being 2011 at the U19 World Championships.
“I have heard great things about the support from the Bendigo community and the direction that the club is taking and I’m excited to be a part of it.”