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The Otago Gold Rush has had a win already.
The defending champions have snagged former Canterbury Wildcats captain Hayley Gray.
Gray will join the Gold Rush having previous shone for the arch-rival. The talented 29-year-old guard guided the Wildcats to back-to-back championship wins in 2016 and 2017 and will be a welcome addition to the squad.
Basketball Otago general manager Justin Ludlow said Gray had been an instrumental figure within Canterbury basketball since her debut for the province at the age of 16.
"Head coach Greg Brockbank and I met with Hayley recently and we were just thrilled with her attitude and determination for the game, which will be a great asset for us in 2019," he said.
"She wants to see more females playing basketball at all ages and wants to play a part in that in our region, which is fantastic.
"She is still passionate about the game and giving back to the next generation of young female basketballers who aspire to have the opportunities which she has had within the game.
"She is excited that she will be able to continue this with the Otago Gold Rush as they look to defend their title won in 2018."
Gray is looking forward to pulling on a new singlet. She has recently relocated to Queenstown with her partner to establish the Black & White Coffee Cartel cafe in Frankton and believes her experience and leadership qualities will add value.
"It is always challenging moving cities and teams. But the Otago Gold Rush have been very welcoming and supportive," she said.
"I cannot wait to hit the floor running. I imagine it will be a tight race to the title, as the WBC continues to grow in strength. But I am confident the silverware won’t be moving from the south."
Gray is a gritty competitor and will add some grunt to the guard line. Her defensive game is a strength, but she is a good shooter as well and "hopefully she drops lots for us this season", Ludlow said.
The Women’s Basketball Championship gets under way in May.