If Penina Davidson had her way as a child, she might well have gone on to excel with a different kind of round ball.
She was thrown into a handful of different sporting arenas during her childhood and peculiarly preferred a field over the hardwood.
“Soccer was actually the sport I gravitated to the most when I was young, as I didn’t mind getting all muddy and I got to share the field with my brother,” Davidson said.
“Mum pushed me towards basketball because I was tall and I actually didn’t like playing, to begin with.
“I’m obviously happy with how things have turned out, but it is one of those what ifs I guess.”
Rep honours came at the tender age of 11 and from there it snowballed into just under a decade national team selections.
She earned her first cap for the Tall Ferns at 17 and the following year was named to the tournament teams for both the Secondary School Championships and Under 19 Championships.
The next step for Davidson was choosing which university or sport she was going to pursue after finishing school, something she said didn’t exactly go to plan.
“I had a few scholarship offers while I was at school and my intention was always to go to Stanford.
“At the time I was also involved in netball and the Mystics set-up, but I chose to give basketball my all and made my way over to the States.
“I fell in love with Stanford after checking out the campus, but for academic reasons, it didn’t work out and funnily enough I ended up at rival university Cal.”
Davidson went on to play for four years as part of the women’s basketball team, playing in 130 of the 131 games in that time span. She averaged close to eight points and seven rebounds while shooting 48% from the field in her senior year.
She signed her first professional contract with Australian WNBL side the Adelaide Lightning last year, who progressed all the way to the grand final series only to lose to the Canberra Capitals.
Less than a month into her time in Adelaide the Harbour Breeze called, offering a three-year deal to play in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).
Davidson said she jumped at the opportunity as a chance to give back and act as a role model for the young girls in the sport.
“Along with all of the other Tall Ferns, I’m in a very special position to be able to give the younger girls some direction with their careers and let them draw on my experiences to help them pursue their own goals.
“Basketball is only growing here and it’s happening rapidly in the women’s space.
“The investment being made in the WBC is an investment in the next generation.”
Davidson has been recovering from an ankle injury sustained at the Women’s FIBA 3x3 World Cup Qualifiers in Puerto Rico earlier this month.
The Harbour Breeze are third on the table and the star forward is “probable” for this Sunday’s home game (26 May) against the Taranaki Thunder.
Individual game stats here.
Watch the following livestream games on www.nz.basketball/tv:
Canterbury vs Otago
Watch the 2019 Women’s Basketball Championship on the livestream though Facebook @BasketballNZ, hashtag #NZWBC.
See the draw, results and teams and more at www.nzwbc.basketball
Want to play basketball? Contact your local association through www.thehuddle.co.nz