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Clydesdale to run Lightning horses


HOT on the heels of the WNBL and Fox Sports announcing their new three-year TV partnership, big moves continue across the league, Dandenong captain Aimie Clydesdale today joining the MAC Adelaide Lightning.

Clydesdale, who was playmaking for and leading the Rangers in the 2017 Grand Final Series against Sydney Uni Flames, has signed a two-year deal at Lightning, taking over running the on-court team from free agent import Sam Logic.

Her departure and that of exciting young centre Lauren Scherf to Canberra Capitals, has stung the Rangers but their signing of Carley Mijovic from Perth's 2016 runner-up should offset that somewhat.

Canberra already has been buoyed by signing dual-Olympian Rachel Jarry, back from Europe.

And my (e)mail is Dandenong also apparently has secured a huge coup in recruiting quality US import Kayla Pedersen, a 193cm WNBA forward/centre at Connecticut Sun.

Pedersen already should be familiar to Rangers and WNBL fans, having suited with them under Mark Wright in the 2013-14 season, alongside Leilani Mitchell.

She is an impact "big".

Clydesdale, 23 and 178cm, has been a Dandenong junior since under-12s, making her decision to explore new avenues as a free agent a difficult one.

"Dandenong was my second home and I love those girls," she said today while visiting Adelaide and marvelling at the club's facilities at Titanium Security Arena.

"It was truly humbling to be captain at such a young age (too). I've played my juniors, SEABL and WNBL at Dandenong."

With the Rangers for more than half her life, Clydesdale's shift will shock many but one of her short-term goals is to be an Opal at next year's Commonwealth Games and that means a necessary leap out of her comfort zone.

Back in 2010, Clydesdale represented Australia at Under-19 level, so working towards an Opals debut and a spot on Sandy Brondello's 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games team is realistic.

That didn't make the final decision any easier.

"No, it's certainly not a decision I've taken lightly," she said.

"It's been really stressful. But I think it's a good time in my career to do it."

Clydesdale played 119 WNBL games in the Rangers' green, averaging 7.9ppg, 2.7rpb and 2.8apg in last season's run to the Final.

Visiting Adelaide helped her make her decision, Clydesdale impressed by the professionalism of the organisation and by dual championship-winning coach Chris Lucas.

"We couldn't be happier. Aimie is the point guard we needed and she'll bring stability to the group too," Lucas said.

"I did a work-out with her today and I'm really pleased and excited by the progress she should make with us over the next couple of years."

While we still await Melbourne tomorrow revealing Liz Cambage and Louella Tomlinson will join Jenna O'Hea in a seriously revamped Boomers frontline, the whisper also is around that star swingman import Betnijah Laney, so integral in Perth reaching the 2016 Grand Final Series, will be back in the WNBL as well.

Apr 26

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