While flying under the radar over the last few seasons, New Zealand star Penina Davidson has proven to be an important part of the Melbourne Boomers squad over the last few seasons.
While coming off the bench in most matches, Davidson is the type of player that brings her teammates into the game and provides strength under the basket to get the rebounds and sink the shot.
Over the off-season for WNBL, Davidson headed up north to play with the Cairns Dolphins in the NBL1 North.
Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum, Penina Davidson spoke about her strong NBL1 North campaign and her WNBL season to date.
Davidson was able to put together a string of strong performances for the Dolphins averaging 19.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game.
“I absolutely loved my time there, it was definitely one of the best basketball moves I’ve done for myself, I think ever,” Davidson said.
“Cairns was such a beautiful place with such beautiful people.”
Joining the Cairns Dolphins for the NBL1 North season alongside Davidson was Boomers teammate, Cayla George, with the pair solidifying their on-court partnership through the Dolphins program.
“She’s one of the best posters in FIBA Oceania and that was one of the reasons why I did that. If we’re looking to make the Olympics as a New Zealand nation, what better post to kind of follow than Cayla,” Davidson said.
Both George and Davidson helped the Dolphins to reach their first NBL1 North finals campaign after a strong regular season.
“It was super good. I think we halved the performance that they had done prior and I think we’re just looking to do that all over again.”
With a strong NBL1 campaign under her belt, Davidson will be looking to transfer that form over to the WNBL with the Boomers.
“I’m just kind of taking it day by day, just seeing what I can transfer over here and more opportunities will stem from that,” she said.
With the Melbourne Boomers going through a bit of a change this season with a new coach in Chris Lucas, a few new recruits and the likes of Lindsay Allen and Ezi Magbegor leaving the reigning champions over the off-season, it created fresh opportunities for the side.
“It’s been a pretty awesome new coach and new systems and stuff like that. So I think we’ve translated it pretty well so far,” Davidson said.
Lucas comes into the side after spending time at the Adelaide Lightning and as an assistant coach of the Opals for the 2018 World Cup Campaign.
With Davidson having spent some time playing under Lucas from her time at the Lighting, she said that Lucas will thrive in the Boomers’ environment.
“He really loves it. He’s a decorated coach for a reason, he’s made so many different types of semi-finals and grand finals in his career and I think it’s showing with a professional club like Melbourne,” she said.
“It’s just time for him to really showcase what he’s capable of.”
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Davidson had a season-best performance against the UC Capitals back in Round three, when Olivia Nelson-Ododa came to the bench it saw Davidson subbed in. Her inclusion in the game proved to be a strong one.
Davidson finished the match with 19 points with 100 per cent accuracy from the field. The 26 -year-old also provided a target for her teammates in the key and used her strength under the ring to capitalize on any missed shots.
“I had really great teammates around me to help that and especially Cayla George, she’s been with me for the last couple of months and she always knew that I was capable and she was just in my ear helping me along the way and that showed.”Embed from Getty Images
The Boomers have a strong block of games heading into Christmas with the Lynx last Friday kicking off a string of five games within the next twenty days. With the Boomers looking to build off their strong 5-1 start to the season.
“We’ve been training quite extensively in the last two weeks or so, just hoping to bring more of what we’re doing and keep that flow going moving forward,” Davidson said.
“We’ve got five games in twenty days, so it was just trying to see if we could get some kind of flow heading into Christmas.”
Davidson and the Boomers will face the red-hot Townsville Fire on Wednesday night at the State Basketball Centre in Melbourne.
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