Richards to play in Australia

Zoe Richards is heading to Western Australia.

The Otago basketball star has signed with the Rockingham Flames to play in the NBL1.

The league is Australia’s top league beneath the WNBL and the Flames play in its West Conference.

Richards (23) has signed with the team after a strong season with the Otago Gold Rush at the end of last year.

The 1.89m forward posted 13 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as she was named in the league’s All-Star Five.

It followed an impressive career at Eckerd College in the United States.

Richards, who debuted for the Tall Ferns in 2019, admitted Australia had been on the radar since she returned from the United States.

"I’ve wanted to play in Australia since finishing college, so my agent helped get my name out and put me in touch with some Australian teams," she said in a media release from the Flames.

"The Flames were one of the teams to get in touch and I was really excited about them.

"They have a lot of WNBL players and that was appealing because you develop your game learning from more experienced players.

“The club being successful recently was a factor, but also coach Tom Knowles seems really great from our conversations; he has a good idea of the player he sees me as and how I fit into the team, the role I’ll play and also the role he can play in my development.

"That was really important to me.

“Obviously, there’s the WNBL in Australia and that’s where I’d like to be and I’m hopeful I can develop and use this opportunity as a stepping stone to play there.”

The WNBL is a quality league, arguably the strongest in the world outside the WNBA.

The NBL1 West begins its season on April 14.

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