KRISTY Rinaldi is set to join Adelaide Lightning for the upcoming Women’s National Basketball League season.
The resigning Ballarat Rush captain unveiled her new venture yesterday, a day after Rush’s campaign drew to a close.
A move to the South Australian capital is a decision Rinaldi has been contemplating for a while, after announcing at last month’s Ballarat Basketball Club presentation dinner that she would not be returning to the Minerdome next season.
The 27-year-old was ready to move on.
“It’s exciting and obviously I’m really looking forward to the new challenge,” Rinaldi said.
“I felt really welcomed over there, like it was something I could be a part of.”
Rinaldi trialled with Lightning last month but kept news of her success quiet to focus on qualifying, then leading, Auslec Rush into finals.
Lightning will be Rinaldi’s third WNBL club.
She played as a development player with Dandenong in the 2007/08 season and Bendigo in 2008/09 before scaling back and focusing on her game with Ballarat in the South East Australian Basketball League.
Rinaldi said she had very mixed emotions about leaving Ballarat, where she played her junior football and established herself as an on-court leader.
Rush fought hard to reach the SEABL women’s south conference final and came close to keeping the season alive in a championship match next week.
Instead, the four-point loss turned out to be Rinaldi’s final outing in Ballarat colours.
“I’m very sad to come to the end, and am disappointed about the loss, but at the same time it is exciting to be moving on,” Rinaldi said.
“I don’t think it really has set in yet (the last Ballarat game) and probably won’t for a few days.
“It still feels a little surreal.”