Two young newcomers sparked defending champion Dandenong, while a player who entered the WNBL before either was born wove her magic for Bendigo in opening round action.
AIS products Sara Blicavs, 19, and Carley Mijovic, 18, showed Dandenong have added two new weapons to their title-winning outfit by starring in a side missing Olympian Jenna O'Hea, who is still on WNBA duty with the LA Sparks.
Blicavs top the scoring with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just over 26 minutes, while Mijovic tallied 12 points and six rebounds in less than 17 minutes in a 90-75 home win over perennial contender Bulleen.
"I'm sure we won't put that much expectation on them every week, but it was great to see them in their first game not showing nerves and come out and play like they have been with us for a long time," Dandenong coach Mark Wright said.
Wright said even if LA were eliminated from the WNBA on Monday (AEDT), he doubted whether O'Hea would be ready to suit up against Bendigo next Saturday.
Four-time Olympic medallist Kristi Harrower, who entered the WNBL in 1991, was instrumental in Bendigo's road wins in Adelaide and Perth.
The 37-year-old point guard contributed 20 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals in the 73-71 win over last season's minor premier Adelaide.
Harrower laid on the game-winning basket for Gabrielle Richards, who bagged 24 points and nine rebounds.
Reigning league MVP Suzy Batkovic notched 17 points and 13 boards for Adelaide, who went 0 from 12 from three-point range.
Richards and Harrower were prominent again the following night in Perth, where Bendigo beat West Coast 76-69 after trailing by 11 at halftime.
Harrower tallied 28 points and eight assists and Richards 16 points and 12 boards.
Canberra scored a 74-61 away win over Sydney despite missing superstar centre Lauren Jackson, who will return from her latest WNBA stint in the next few days.
Veterans Jess Bibby and Carly Wilson led the way offensively with 18 and 16 respectively.
"To open the season with a road win is big. I think road games are going to be the difference when this season pans out," Canberra coach Carrie Graf told AAP.
Graf was hopeful Jackson might play against Townsville and Logan next weekend, but said she wouldn't make a decision until medical staff checked out the Opals stalwart.
In the other opening round game Townsville scored a 63-61 home win over Queensland rival Logan, who had the two biggest individual scorers in the game.