THEY may not have their full side on court for the first game but Knox Raiders women have added two major signings for the South East Australian Basketball League season when it begins on March 15.
The Raiders have added WNBL stars Gabrielle Richards (Bendigo Spirit) and Rebecca Allen (Bulleen Boomers) while also retaining guard Kelly Wilson (Bendigo Spirit) and Odette Andrew (Logan Thunder) from last season.
Wilson and Richards will play with the Spirit in the WNBL grand final this Sunday and then miss round one as Wilson is getting married with the reliable Richards to be one of her bridesmaids.
Richards will replace import forward Amy Denson and Allen will take the place of Cassie Smith.
Raiders women's coach Cheryl Chambers said she was pleased to bring in talents like Richards and Allen but was still uncertain how good her side could be this season.
"It's hard to tell at this time of year because a few girls are still with their WNBL clubs," she said.
"The girls who are with us are working well and we have added a lot of fresh faces from the Knox junior ranks.
"We are looking OK but we still have a lot of work to do."
Chambers said she had long hoped to recruit Richards while she was coaching in the WNBL.
"When I coached WNBL I tried to get Gabe to come and play for me many times so it's nice to finally get her over the line," Chambers said.
"Rebecca is a fantastic talent who had a long, lean athletic body and is a great scorer.
"I was lucky enough to coach her in my last Australian Gems team so hopefully that makes for a smooth transition into our side."
Chambers also tabbed emerging centre Shanae Greaves and guard Jess May as two players who needed to give the team more this season.
"Shanae has another year under her belt and I think she is someone who we want more out of," Chambers said.
■ Dandenong Rangers and Frankston Blues have had players named in the Victorian Metro women's side for the under-18 Australian junior championships in Brisbane from April 20-27.
Rangers forward Amanda Meinking and Blues forward Samara Hill were named in the 10-player team while Knox Raiders pair Tia Hay and Rachel Lucas were named as emergencies. Bulleen player and Croydon North resident Courtney Collins was also named on the roster.
Kelly Breazeale from Hawthorn Magic will coach the side and be assisted by Melbourne Tigers' junior coach Matthew Dickins and Bulleen's Samantha Thornton.
Vic Metro under-18s will be going for their fifth straight gold medal at the championships.