Scanlon chases WNBL dream

Lily Scanlon representing the Victorian under-20 team earlier this year. (Basketball Victoria)

By Oliver Lees

Basketball prodigy Lily Scanlon has officially signed with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers for the upcoming WNBL season.

The 20-year-old former Sunbury Jets player has had an eventful last few years, first signing for the Canberra Capitals in 2019, before moving to the US to play with Gonzaga University in the top flight college basketball league.

Scanlon said she’s looking forward to playing in front of some familiar faces.

“It’s so exciting to be able to play in front of a home crowd with my friends and family in the stands,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to challenging myself, day in and day out, and prove that I deserve to be there. I think I’ll slot in well.”

Scanlon has already tasted success in the WNBL.

After signing on as a development player with the Capitals for the 2019-20 season, the side went on to win the grand final.

The point guard then fulfilled a childhood dream of playing college basketball, when she moved to Washington State to play with Gonzaga in August 2020.

Scanlon said the team had to play through adversity.

“There were a lot of COVID cases in the US at that time, so it was pretty different to a regular season,” she said.

“We didn’t have fans in the stadium and at times we were getting tested every day in the lead-up to matches.

“But we dealt with it as a team and it actually helped us get closer to one another.

“I was able travel to heaps of different states so it was still so awesome to be a part of.”

Her time with Gonzaga included a first round exit from the NCAA Tournament known as March Madness, where college sides from across the state compete in a single game elimination tournament.

Scanlon said her decision to return to Australia was motivated by a desire to be closer to home and pursue a career in domestic competition.

Although the WNBL season doesn’t kick off until later this year, Scanlon has been keeping fresh in the NBL1 league.

Playing for the Eltham Wildcats who sit fourth on the table, she said she’s happy with the team’s performance.

“As I used to play for the Bulleen Boomers it’s a little like I’ve gone over to the dark side playing for the rival,” she said.

“We’ve started off the season really well, it’s been a lot of fun and we have a pretty strong team,” she said.

Scanlon has starred for the Wildcats, averaging 16 points, three rebounds and two assists per game, shooting 46 per cent from the field.

Her best game came in the Wildcat’s round four win over Hobart, where she dropped 25 points shooting 64 per cent from the floor.

Having previously played for the Australian Gems in the under-19 and the under-17 Sapphires, Scanlon is hoping she can once again represent her country at the highest level.

“I want to play for the Opals,” she said.

“I’ve wanted it ever since I was young and I’m going to keep working to get there.”