US college basketball switch for former Mermaid

Former Warrnambool basketballer Maddy White enjoys some practice at the Arc on a break from college in the United States.

Former Warrnambool basketballer Maddy White enjoys some practice at the Arc on a break from college in the United States.

WARRNAMBOOL basketballer Maddy White hopes a move to a different US college will pay dividends.

White, 20, will play for NCAA division two school California Baptist University in Riverside next season after defecting from division one team University of South Dakota.

The Warrnambool Mermaids championship forward said the chance to spend more time in Australia on her breaks, increased game time and a stronger focus on study were the catalysts for her decision.

White, home in the south-west until the start of September, said it was a hard choice to change programs after enjoying a strong freshman year at South Dakota.

She played in 24 of the Coyotes’ 33 matches, averaging 10 minutes’ court time.

“I loved the team and I think I made lifelong friends in that team,” White said.

“It was amazing. I learnt so much stuff, not only about basketball but about myself.

“It is the same language but they live completely differently so you adapt and learn.”

White, a former Australian under 19 representative, said she devoured as much knowledge as she could from South Dakota’s elite basketball program.

She trained every day and played games on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Coyotes also had irregular Tuesday and Sunday matches.

“The hard thing for me to adjust to was the physicality and strength,” White said. 

“Yes, I had played SEABL in Geelong but just doing heavy weights (was different).

“I was doing weights before but not to the extreme they do it.”

White, who scored a career-high eight points against Saint Mary’s, said she was grateful for the guidance she received at South Dakota.

“I was really happy with the opportunities I got given,” she said.

“My minutes varied throughout the year depending on injuries.

“I changed positions, I went from playing post to playing wing.”

White said she would study health science at California Baptist University and was hopeful of cementing a role on the Lancers’ basketball roster.

“They want me at the four or five position,” she said.

“This (level) is more fast and moving whereas the other one was more physical.”

White was disappointed to hear of the Mermaids’ demise this Big V season, saying she would have jumped at the chance to suit up for her home club during her Australian visit.

But White has paid close attention to the Seahawks’ fortunes in the division one men’s competition. “It’s weird now I am gone, I really want to see my home team succeed,” she said.

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