date_range Published 10 Feb 2022

There are great new opportunities developing for women and girls playing basketball in Otago in 2022. 

At the top end of the pathway there is the exciting developments of the new Women’s NBL in New Zealand, and the southern NZ franchise that is currently being developed.   This will be one of the five franchise teams in that new Women’s NBL format which provides a professional Women’s NBL for the first time.  With the southern NZ franchise having been purchased by the major Australasian sports media company SEN (Sports Entertainment Network), who have also purchased the Otago Nuggets, it provides an incredible opportunity for top level women’s talent and aspiring talent in Otago.  With Sky Sports NZ having become a major partner of the New Zealand NBL, including the Women’s NBL, the profile and coverage of the new look Women’s NBL provides a fantastic showcase and opportunity for the women’s game. 

The Otago Gold Rush, formerly Otago’s Women’s NBL team under the previous NBL structure, will still have a major presence in the Otago basketball landscape and the Women’s pathway.  The Gold Rush will provide an important stepping-stone for local players into the new look Women’s NBL and they will compete in a newly developing competition structure sitting below the NBL, which will hopefully include both local South Island competition as well as a national competition.  As well as this, the Otago Gold Rush will continue to represent Otago in the exciting NBL 3x3 Schick Cup.

At the grass roots end of the new look Women & Girls basketball pathway in Otago there are exciting developments underway.  Basketball Otago has appointed former Otago Gold Rush star Brittany Richards to oversee these new developments as the Basketball Otago Women & Girls Coordinator, and former NZ Tall Ferns star Samara Gallaher will continue an informal role as Basketball Otago Women & Girls Ambassador.  The new look Basketball Otago ‘Girls Got Game’ (GGG) Development Programme will include three elements to give more young girls the opportunity to play basketball and develop their skills. 

1.  GGG Learn To Play – fun skills development sessions for girls aged 5 to 12 

2.  GGG Competition’ – fun team’s competition for girls aged 8 to 11.  Teams will be coached by some of our star women players, including NZ Tall Ferns, NBL players, and Otago Gold Rush players

3.  GGG Stars in Schools – our star women’s players in Otago, including current and former NZ Tall Ferns, will visit our schools around Otago to promote basketball and teach the basketball basics

Otago basketball has such an amazing list of international women’s role models who are either currently playing for the NZ Tall Ferns, or have previously played for the Tall Ferns, and we want to have them inspiring a generation of girls in Otago to pick up a basketball and have some fun.  The list of international role models we have in Otago to inspire these young girls is mighty impressive indeed, including the likes of Zoe Richards, Samara Gallaher, Nicole Ruske, Lisa Wallbutton, Suzie Bates, and Tracey Kelly.  Basketball Otago is aiming to make the most of our great female role models as a vital part of the new Women & Girls Pathway.

To help us achieve maximum success with these exciting new developments in the women’s game, it’s great to have the hugely successful and innovative local marketing company, Firebrand, as our 2022 naming partner for the new look ‘Girls Got Game’ programme, the Women’s Dunedin Basketball League, and the Otago Gold Rush.  Firebrand have been great supporters and drivers of the development of the women and girls game as the naming partner of the Otago Gold Rush NBL team for the last two years, and it’s great to have them continuing to support and drive these exciting developments in 2022.

So it’s all go for the women and girls basketball in 2022, and if you’d like more information about anything please get in touch with Brittany Richards at