TOP of Ballarat Rush’s wishlist for this season was an imposing interior player.
They found her in American centre Nya Mason.
The 187-centimetre tall will make the move to the Minerdome from South East Australian Basketball League rival Albury-Wodonga.
Auslec Rush yesterday unveiled Mason as its first import as the season draws closer.
Rush coach Donna Rinaldi said it was just a matter of finalising paperwork as to confirming Mason’s arrival in Ballarat, hopefully by Easter, from her Portland home in the United States’ north-west.
Rinaldi said Mason was a ready-made addition to bolster a returning core group of Rush players.
“She did a solid job for Albury-Wodonga last year and she probably wasn’t at her peak fitness. In the off-season, she’s done a fair bit of work on her strength and conditioning,” Rinaldi said.
“She enjoyed playing SEABL competition last season and we’re not expecting any delays for her to adjust to referee decisions or the pace of the game.”
Rinaldi said it was important to have a big player dominating the boards, like Mason, in SEABL-level competition and Rush had lacked a player in this specialist role last season.
Mason’s aggressive style will help Rush fill the void left by New Zealand international Nat Taylor, who remains recovering from knee surgery for at least the next six months.
Taylor ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament and tore her medial and lateral ligaments in action for Women’s National Basketball League club Logan Thunder in mid-January.
Mason made her SEABL debut with the Lady Bandits last season, which she launched in a 23-point, 12-rebound game against Rush.
Mason played college basketball for Colorado State University and University of San Diego.
Rush will retain its core senior players and again seek to put more minutes into the developing Sophie Alexander, Kelly Richardson, Bronte Clarke and Olivia Jones.
Rush is hoping to announce a second import within the next week ahead of its season opener in Frankston on March 23.