First Māori woman makes USA's Minnesota Lynx team for WNBA

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Australia

Nineteen year-old Tahlia Tupaea of Tainui-Ngāti Tipa descent is the first Māori woman to be drafted in the third round of USA's Minnesota Lynx team to play in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

The Aussie born teen was the last selection at 36th for the 2017 WNBA draft, and the only Australian player to make selection this year. 

"My agent rung me the day of the draft and said that I got drafted so I was lucky last pick which was awesome. So I'm going to head over to America next year and go into training camp and just do the best I can so that I can make the roster", says Tupaea.

At 15 years of age, the 5'9 impact player was selected for Australia's WNBL Sydney Uni Flames team and this year was a key player in their championship title win. After signing on with the Flames for another two years, it might be some time before she makes the roster for Minnesota Lynx, however the teen looks forward to learning from the best of the best when she begins her training with the squad.

"They've got some great players and Olympians in there and they're a world class organisation. They've won the last three out of four championships, so it's a great team and a great club."