Dominance from down under: Australian trio brings international flair to St. Francis

See this story at

By Laura Amato

Brooklyn Daily

G’day, Brooklyn.

A trio of Australian basketball players — freshmen Jade Johnson and Meg Crupi and junior Alex Delaney — are a major part of the St. Francis women’s basketball team this season. They may be half a world away from their native Australia, but they’ve managed to find a new home in Brooklyn Heights.

“A lot of players are now coming over to America to play college basketball, get the experience and get an education,” said Delaney, a shooting guard averaging 10.8 points this year. “In terms of basketball, I wanted to go somewhere I would play. From freshman year, I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to fit right in and start playing.”

They aren’t the first players from Down Under to suit up for the Terriers — Jessica Kaufman and Eilidh Simpson also played for the squad from 2011 to 2015. It’s a cross-world pipeline that has made St. Francis an appealing destination for international players.

“Between the basketball and the academics and having Australians here in the past, it was all fantastic,” Johnson said. “I went on a tour to America when I was 14 with basketball, and I knew that was the direction I wanted to take.”

Australian basketball — unlike the country itself — is a bit of a small world, and players often grow up competing and then move on to the college game together. Johnson actually played with Delaney’s younger sister, but strangely, she didn’t meet Crupi until the two picked up their visas together.

It didn’t take long for them to hit it off, and now the pair don’t just dorm together, they give the Terriers a solid spark off the bench.

“I think that’s made the whole transition easier,” Johnson said of her friendship with her fellow freshman. “When you’re going to be living so far away from home, you’ve got to know you’ll feel comfortable. And I’ve always felt very comfortable here.”

There isn’t a language barrier for the Aussie trio to contend with, but that doesn’t mean that the group hasn’t faced its own mini culture shock stateside.

“There’s some things that [the Americans] say and I have absolutely no idea what that is,” Crupi said. “Then they explain it and I get it and it’s like, we have that too, but it’s just a different word.”

All three Aussies are hoping to build something in Brooklyn this season, determined to lead the Terriers back to basketball glory, but they’re also hoping to jumpstart their own game just a bit too. After all, they’ve got quite an audience keeping tabs on them on the other side of the world.

“We’re able to kind of stand out here,” Johnson said. “There’s articles about you. If you have a great game, people back home know. Coaches back home message me all the time when we win.”

Comment on this story.

Dominance from down under: Australian trio brings international flair to St. Francis : Brooklyn Daily

Leave a Reply