Bathurst's Matilda Flood to join women's basketball program at New York's Fordham University

MATILDA Flood has become the latest Bathurst basketballer to land a place in a US university team after New York's Fordham University offered her a spot in their program.

The deal with Fordham is a dream come true for Flood who will now have the opportunity to play in the highest tier of NCAA women's basketball as part of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

BIG MOVE: Matilda Flood has been signed to New York's Fordham College where she'll play division one NCAA basketball. Photo: BASKETBALL NSW

BIG MOVE: Matilda Flood has been signed to New York's Fordham College where she'll play division one NCAA basketball. Photo: BASKETBALL NSW

The former Bathurst Goldminer, Central Coast Crusader and NSW under 20s guard joins an elite women's program at Fordham.

The Rams won the 2019 A10 Women's Basketball Tournament and still have a young side who will enjoy several seasons of play together.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic does put an uncertain timeframe on when Flood is able to make the journey over to New York - the American state worst affected by the virus - but that's not enough to wipe the smile off her face.

"I'd signed in early February but only announced it on signing day a week ago so I'd to keep it a secret until it was made official. That was hard keeping that under wraps. I was so excited," she said.

"They won the conference last year and were going great this year as well but the season was cut short because of coronavirus. They're a great team.

"There's no seniors either, which I really like, so when I go this year everyone I met on my visit will still be there and I'll get to play with all of them."

Flood will fellow Goldminers graduates Matt Gray (UC San Diego) and Will Cranston-Lown (Regis University) as current US college players - a great advertisement for Bathurst's basketball program.

The Bathurst guard made an impression on Fordham's scouts during her visit to the United States at the end of last year.

When Flood had the opportunity to see the college she was blown away.

"College wasn't really on my mind until later in year 12 when some of my friends who went to college talked about what a great time the had. Hearing about the experience from players like Rachel Murray and Haylee Lepaio was when I started to get into the idea," Flood said.

"I went to New York in January to look at two schools. I went to Fordham first and it was beautiful. The coaching staff were awesome and I knew I wanted to go there before I even visited the next school.

"Their main focus of the school is on defence, which is my favourite aspect of the game, and it's in New York City as well. After growing up in Bathurst that's just a whole different ball game."

New York could find itself in the spotlight for women's basketball thanks to WNBA side New York Liberty taking college sensation Sabrina Ionescu with the number one pick in the draft.

Having a potential superstar on her doorstep just adds to the excitement for Flood.

"My favourite player Sabrina Ionescu just got signed to New York so everything just keeps getting better and better. Being able to see her play live will be unreal," she said.

"The only thing is that I was supposed to be going over next month but that's not happening. As soon as borders open I'll be going over because I just can't wait.

"It's hard to know when things will reopen ... but hopefully it will be as soon as possible."

This story Off to the Big Apple: Flood earns place at Fordham University first appeared on Western Advocate.