Omitted Dunn says basketball switch will 'improve my netball'

Source: 1News

One would be excused to think Pulse star Aliyah Dunn has been around netball longer than her 22 years of age suggests.

Aliyah Dunn.

By 1News Sport reporter Jessica Dermody

The ANZ Premiership's most accurate shooter since 2019, her absence in Dame Noeline Taurua’s Commonwealth Games squad earlier this week naturally raised questions.

Missing out on Silver Fern selection, Dunn turned down an opportunity to play for New Zealand A at the upcoming Cadbury Series to instead suit up for the Tokomanawa Queens in the new Tauihi women’s basketball league.

She told 1News the switch wasn't a sudden decision.

"One of the board members asked to meet up, just to talk about how I could fit into the team," Dunn said.

"I did definitely tell them about the Silver Ferns trials… but if I didn’t [make it] then they would happily take me."

Standing at 1.93m, basketball was Dunn’s first pick as a student at Invercargill’s Verdon College and saw her earn selection in the Junior Tall Ferns.

"[Basketball] is a different culture to netball," she said.

"Basketball is a lot looser and the people, their personalities are different, they’re very easy going, flowy.

"It’s just a different vibe between netball and basketball, but both are really enjoyable.”

Dunn won’t be the only netball flavour featured in the new competition, with Pulse teammate Parris Mason also in the Queens team.

The pair are helping the new franchise learn the ropes of professional sport.

“We both know how netball run things and [Queens] really want to know how they can do better.”

Aliyah Dunn.

Having not played for the Silver Ferns since her debut year in 2018, Dunn’s open about the benefits a season of basketball will do in her ability to meet Dame Noeline's fitness requirements.

“Running full court [in basketball] is only going to help with my conditioning and then different skills, footwork, ball handling, it’s all going to improve my netball.”

It’s a year of refreshment for Dunn, who will later move south to join the Mainland Tactix for the 2023 netball season.

"I’m so excited - a change of scenery, change of team-mates and environment."