One of Australia’s most talented young basketballers, Last Tear Poa, is the final piece of the puzzle for the Whittlesea Pacers.
The Pacers thought they had all but completed their Big V division 1 women’s list for this year – and then Poa got in touch.
Pacers coaching director Shannon Bodley said they were thrilled when Poa approached them about joining the club.
He said she was one of the most exciting female players he’d seen in his 10 years at the club.
Poa was part of the under-16 Australian Sapphires side that won gold at the under-16 Asian championships, and thus qualified for this year’s world championship qualifiers, as well as being part of Vic metro representative sides.
Bodley said Poa had already forged a good working relationship with Pacers coaching co-ordinator Damon Lowery when both were at Dandenong.
“Damon did a lot of one on one work with her and helped map out her future and what she wants to do,” Bodley said.
“She’d been at the centre of excellence in Canberra and was coming back to Melbourne.
“She got in contact with Damian to see where he was and then her mum rang me about her playing.”
Bodley said she hadn’t looked out of place at training since joining the club, despite being just 16.
He said she was a high-quality guard who can run the floor.
Poa joins new coach Hayley Munro as the Pacers’ big off-season signings.
Munro, who played in a WNBL championship, will be a playing coach.
Bodley said Munro had decided going against recruiting imports and would instead focus on Australian-based players.
Six players from last season’s squad have returned and will be joined by Elyce Lambrou, who comes across from Camberwell, and May Saaga from Diamond Valley.
Bodley, who is also the youth league women’s coach, said the club would rotate some younger players through the senior side.
“It gives us 11 players,” he said.
“There’ll like be three or four youth league girls that will swing through the senior side – like a senior development squad, giving them a taste of playing senior basketball.”
Bodley said that overall things were looking good for the upcoming Big V season.
He said the club was hoping to announce an import for the men’s side in the coming weeks.”