THE Albury-Wodonga Lady Bandits have finally signed their import players for this year’s SEABL campaign.
The Border club will unveil forward Rachel Maenpaa and point guard Lonnika Thompson tomorrow, along with new coach James Ballinger.
Maenpaa is a 185-centimetre combo forward who has spent the past three seasons playing in the Queensland Basketball League for the Brisbane Capitals, Northside Wizards and Bundaberg Bears.
The 28-year-old averaged 22.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game for the Wizards in 2011 and the Lady Bandits are hoping Maenpaa’s speed and athleticism will be a huge boost for the beleaguered Border squad, which won just one game last year.
The Wisconsin native has also previously played in Portugal — where she made the All-Star team and played in the FIBA Cup competition — Switzerland, Slovakia and Sweden after a stellar collegiate career for Indiana State University.
Following her junior season where Indiana State was regular season conference champion, Maenpaa was a Missouri Valley Conference Second Team nomination in her senior year for the Sycamores, averaging 13.8 points and 6.3 boards per game.
Thompson is a 163-centimetre playmaker who played her college basketball for the Florida Gators in the NCAA’s Division 1 Southeastern Conference.
Hailing from New Orleans, she was the Gators’ most improved player in 2008-09 and was also the recipient of the Miss Elliott Unsung Hero Award in 2009-10.