BDS Logan Thunder will begin their 2012/13 WNBL preseason preparations on Tuesday August 7 when they do battle against US college powerhouse Auburn University.
The Alabama-based college are in Australia as part of their NCAA pre-season tour, taking on the Thunder at NAB Stadium in Brisbane.
The Logan team will feature nine players from the club’s newly-named academy, as well as WNBL players Kristen Veal, Holly Smith, Emma Langford and newcomer Mikhaela Donnelly.
Logan Thunder Academy Director and Coach Tony Stephens conceded the nine-time South-Eastern Conference Champions, who face Logan in the first game of their Australian tour, will be a stern test for his side.
“Auburn are a well-known quality NCAA Division 1 team,” he said.
“They have a new coach and playing roster so it is a bit hard to know what to expect, but one thing for sure is they will be big, fast and physical.
“They will probably be heavy on transition, so our transition defence will have to be up to it.
“They like to trap on defence so the experience of our WNBL players will be invaluable and I want to push it back at them as well and play an up tempo game.
“They are also big, so we will have to rely on good rotating man-to-man defence.”
Although the hosts go into the match without previously playing or training together as a team, Stephens is confident his side will be keen to show their wares with and against WNBL level players.
“Our principles will be simple – push transition, quick ball movement in the half court trying to shift their big players. We have some good shooters so we will be taking advantage of that,” he said.
“For the WNBL players it will be a good hit-out against quality opposition and for the girls looking for contracts it is a great way for them to show what they can do.
“For the rest of the Academy players, to see how someone like Kristen prepares for a match, her professionalism and understanding of the game, will be a highlight.
“A lot of the learning for the young ones will be from the talking pre-game, time-outs, bench and post-game.”
The team is also set to benefit from the guidance of former Thunder guard and current New Zealand Tall Ferns veteran Kate McMeeken-Ruscoe, who will support Stephens in an assistant coach role.
Although it will be a friendly game looking to grow the relationship between the two fraternities, Stephens said a fiery encounter is expected.
“The competitiveness of all athletes will come to play towards the end of the game. Both teams will want to win,” he said.
“It will be a great spectacle for women's basketball. With all the different associations represented through the academy it will hopefully inspire young girls to play at this level.”
Auburn will travel to Australia on August 4 and will also play the Sydney Uni Flames, Queensland Basketball League side the Cairns Dolphins and the Australia-State League’s Sutherland Sharks.
What: Exhibition match – BDS Logan Thunder against Auburn University
When: Tuesday, August 7 2012
Where: NAB Stadium, 16 Dixon Street, Auchenflower