When the GJ Gardner Homes Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa gets underway on June 29, there will be two recent members of the Arizona Wildcats taking part. Former Arizona forward Dominique McBryde is playing for WHAI and Trinity Baptiste, the woman who filled McBryde’s position after she graduated, will play for Mainland Pouakai in the inaugural season of the New Zealand league.
PLAYER ANNOUNCEMENT— Mainland Pouakai (@MainlandPouakai) June 23, 2022
We are thrilled to announce the newest signing to the Pouākai family and third import Trinity Baptiste
Read more about Trinity’s signing herehttps://t.co/X7jWHOkLXX❤️ pic.twitter.com/aKQAf1MpHz
Baptiste spent part of last season playing for BC Samara in the top Russian league. She left shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. While she said that she wouldn’t be returning to Russia for future seasons, the time there gave her the opportunity to remake her game.
Now, she will take that game to New Zealand to help launch a new league. The league is a collaboration between Basketball New Zealand, GJ Gardner Homes, and Sky Sport. It consists of five regional teams each of which will play an eight-week season of six home and six away games. Mainland Pouakai represents the upper south region.
Baptiste and her teammates will begin league play right out of the gate. Their first game is on opening day, June 29, against Southern Hoiho. On July 5, the two former Wildcats will face off against each other as Mainland Pouakai plays WHAI in the second game for each team.