With their season opener only five days following the observance of Matariki, it seems appropriate that the Mainland Pouākai feature a star-studded lineup taking on the Southern Hoiho at Cowles Stadium.
Trinity Baptiste is the franchise’s third import signing, a move that only adds to the excitement for supporters in Waitaha Canterbury and beyond.
“Across our entire Mainland region, Canterbury, Tasman and the West Coast, tamariki will see themselves on the court and understand the places basketball can take them,” says Mainland Pouākai General Manager Caleb Harrison.
From school, club and representative teams to high performance, Harrison emphasises the importance of this season as young women across Aotearoa will recognise so many pathways are available to them.
“Trinity reflects the same commitment and work ethic this team will be known for,” Harrison adds. “It’s really valuable to be able to introduce these inspiring role models to our communities through Pouākai Girls Got Game, Pouākai Mentoring and Pouākai Hoops in Schools programmes.”
Baptiste was drafted by the Indiana Fever in the 2021 WNBA draft as the 24th overall pick, having been drafted by the same franchise as Pouākai head coach Tully Bevilaqua spent many years as a player & assistant coach.
“I’m excited for Trinity to join us here in Christchurch. Trinity will raise our level of toughness at both ends of the floor along whilst also complimenting her teammates.
Coming from a program at Arizona Wildcats under the guidance of my former teammate and friend, Adia Barnes, I know Trinity is going to bring the defence!” Stated Mainland Pouākai Head Coach Tully Bevilaqua.
Baptiste grew up in Tampa, Florida, USA, and was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2016.
She started her college career at Northwest Florida State College. She appeared in 31 games and averaged 13 points per game on a 61% field goal percentage. She also averaged 8.3 rebounds.
In her sophomore season at Virginia Tech, Baptiste was named to the ACC All-Academic Team. She joined the University of Arizona as a graduate transfer after the 2020 season, starting all 27 games, where she averaged 26.4 minutes, 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Baptiste led Arizona to an appearance in the championship game in the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Baptiste decided to forgo her remaining eligibility, of which she had an extra year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and declare for the WNBA Draft in spring 2021.
The historical opening game of Tauihi Basketball Aotearoa is expected to be a sell out with less than 300 tickets remaining for next Wednesday’s showdown between the Mainland Pouākai and the Southern Hoiho, 7pm at Cowles Stadium. Tickets available at Ticketek