Written by Greg Dawkins. Photos by JDR Creative.
USC Rip City new addition Brandi Leal has the personality the size of Texas which leaves no doubt
the point guard will be a leader on and off the court for the women’s NBL1 North team and the club.
Whether she’s dishing to one of her teammates, taking one of the development players under her wing, or helping coach the juniors at the club, Leal does it with tons of energy and a smile.
The 5’6” American, from Amarillo on the famous Route 66 in north-west Texas, is also a straight talker with a larrikin sense of humour any Aussie would be proud of.
“What brings me to the Sunny Coast is the waves and weather,” Leal said. “Oh, and, I should say, the opportunity to play basketball.”
After playing college basketball at Cameron University in Oklahoma, Leal has played semi-pro basketball in America, Spain and now due to Covid-19 she’s “stuck” in Australia where she has also played for the Bundy Bears and Melbourne Uni Black Angels.
“Adventure brought me here, basketball easily followed and created an easier path getting here,”
said Leal, who has already warned family and friends back home of drop bears and other dangerous animals in Australia.
Don’t get it twisted though, Leal is a competitor and was deep in thought post game on how the side could improve from their opening night loss to rivals Phoenix. The club made her feel at home, at least a little bit, by getting her to use the t-shirt gun during the
“Culture shock would be not having my gun, “Leal said when asked the biggest culture shock between Texas and Queensland. “But I probably can’t say that so I’m gonna go with the fact that kangaroos actually just be hopping around like normal.”
Leal is fitting in just fine in her new home and on her new team. She wants to be the best point guard she can be and no doubt she will have a lot of fun on this new adventure.
“My favourite thing (about Australia) is how chill it is here. I really love the Aussie culture and how y’all live life,” she said.
Yes, she said “y’all” – you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl!
Rip City travel to Southern Districts Spartans on Saturday night. USC will be boosted by the Delaney sisters, Alex and Bree, Layla Prince and Ashleigh Blake, who were not available for the first game.
The 1-1 Spartans will be led by former Rip City guard Maddison Rocci, who is Alex Delaney’s
Canberra Capitals teammate and last year’s QSL MVP.
The women’s game tips off at 6pm and can be watched online at nbl1.com.au. Follow University of
Sunshine Coast Basketball Club on Facebook for updates.