Big guns join Lady Pirates

By Andrew Johnston

ECHUCA Lady Pirates have taken a huge step in their development, with a restructure of their coaching line-up.

Jane Chalmers, a veteran of more than 300 SEABL games with the Bendigo Braves and a two-time WNBL champion with the Bendigo Spirit, will head up the women’s CBL program, with Lisa Baker taking over the reins as coach from Simon Eishold.

Echuca Basketball Association president Phil Candy said the moves would have a major impact on the future of women’s basketball in Echuca-Moama.

‘‘Lisa has significant experience at CBL level,’’ he said.

‘‘She has been a fantastic support for Simon Eishold in his time as coach. She’s expressed an interest in coaching at this level, and the time was right for her to take over as coach of the side.’’

Candy said the appointment of Chalmers, one of the most experienced basketballers in the country, was a major step for the sport.

‘‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for the whole association having Jane on board,’’ he said.

‘‘In her role Jane will oversee selection, as well as designing a fitness program for our players to get them into the best possible condition for playing. We expect it will make a huge impact on how our girls play.

‘‘She will likely be involved in a lot of training as well, her experience in the game and the knowledge she brings will add so much to the development of our players. We’re also hoping she will be able to be involved on game day as often as she is available.’’

Though there was no confirmation, Candy did admit he would love to see Chalmers take to the court as well.

‘‘There is no doubt how exceptional a player Jane is,’’ he said.

‘‘It would be fantastic to see her on the court at some stage, even just for a game in Echuca-Moama so our basketball community and followers could watch her play locally and thank her. I think it would be fantastic.’’

Candy believes the changes to the structure will have a major impact on women’s basketball in the community.

‘‘We wanted to have make as big of an impact on the sport as we could, and we believe this highlights our commitment to women’s basketball.

‘‘Hopefully having people of the quality of Jane and Lisa will bring a few players who were sitting on the fence about playing around and get them involved in the sport.’’