Coming from a country where basketball is not considered a popular sport, Ida Andersson is certainly proving that it doesn’t matter where you come from…it’s what you can do on the court. And for this girl from Sweden, she can do it all!
Andersson is the latest recruit for the Sunbury Jets Championship Women. She’s made a big splash in her first few Big V games, which includes a 34-point outing in Round 7. She leads the division in scoring with 23 ppg and is not afraid to share the ball dishing out 5 assists a game, which ranks second amongst the Champ Women.
So, how did a girl from a country known more for Football and Ice Hockey end up playing basketball?
Well, it all started in the summer of 2009….
“In Sweden, basketball is not a huge sport, so I did not grow up watching it on TV. Therefore, my first real memory of the sport was very memorable to me. Back in the summer of 2009, I was 14 years old and had only played basketball for a year, maybe only a few months, when the European championships for Women U18 were hosted in my city.” Andersson said.
“I had just started playing for my club…I remember following the Swedish National team throughout the tournament, competing, and beating one big team after the next just to lose in the semis against Spain, but ended up winning the bronze medal game against the Czech Republic. I just remember watching them and wanting to be just like them.”
From that point forward, Ida committed herself to basketball and would get her chance to play for her country 3 years later.
“Fast forward three years. I stand in Miskolc, Hungary, with sweat pearls on my forehead I am holding one teammate on my right, another on my left, facing our flag and hearing our national anthem, just like the 'big girls' did three summers back. I was selected to represent Sweden in the 2012 U16 European championship”
Not only did she play for her country, but Ida was quite an accomplished club player winning an U16s national tournament with her home club SBBK.
8 years later and Ida would take her talents to Australia. In what would have been her first Big V season, unfortunately, the season would not go ahead.
“I signed for Sunbury back in 2020 for Coach John White or "Whitey" and participated in our two preseason games, but as we know, due to COVID-19, the official season got cancelled. I got in contact with Coach Whitey in January of 2020 through the WNBL team Southside Flyers, whom I practiced with since August. I was amazed by his basketball philosophy, the potential the Jets had that year, and what role he saw me play in his team. It was a no-brainer to sign for him, unfortunately, we did not get to see through the season.”
Ida decided to go play in Spain during the 2020-21 season. A decision she would not regret, helping the team to win a championship.
“The following year I played for Leganés in Madrid, Spain in which I helped bring home the championship to promote the team to the Spanish first league. We won the LF2 championship and almost had a perfect season with only 1 loss.” Andersson said.
She would then play the following season at her home club, and then finally make her return to Big V this year. It’s safe to say Ida is loving being back on Australian soil.
“I have really enjoyed being back and competing for Sunbury Jets again. The GM Chris Tighe and the rest of the club have welcomed and treated me like family here ever since I signed two seasons ago, so I'm very happy here.” She said. “We have a bit to go in terms of getting to know each other as the last puzzle pieces (including myself) arrived late to the season.”
She admits Australia’s brand of basketball is much more physical compared to where she’s previously played.
“What I have experienced in a season of WNBL practices with the Flyers two years back learning and competing with some of Australia's best players and with the games in Big V so far, is the physicality of the game.”
“Here you are getting bumped, pulled, and dragged a lot more without any calls. This is very different from the collegiate - and European basketball I have played. I believe that if the physicality is as consistent nation-wide as in my experience, it must be one of the beneficial factors to Australian Basketball's success in international competition.”
Having now played 5 games of Big V basketball, Ida has set big goals for herself and the team this season.
“The goal for me in every team I play for is to win the championship, and with all our pieces put together, I believe we can shock a lot of people and make some damage in this league. My personal goals are in alignment with our team goals, to listen to coach Ben Draper and other leaders and mentors I have around me to improve my game.”
“I want to learn as much as I can and develop as a player in the big role I have on the team and lead us to a successful season and hopefully raise a trophy at the end of the year.” She said.
From Sweden to Spain to Australia, Ida Andersson has had quite the basketball journey so far. She credits the game for teaching her valuable lessons in her own life.
“Every new country, league, and team looks different, and I am honoured to be playing, improving, and am happily taking on any challenge I am facing on or off the court. As with life, we go through different seasons, we are put in new situations with new challenges, people come and leave our lives and I think the resilience I have dealt with in basketball has helped me to learn from the past and prepared me for the future without forgetting to enjoy living in the moment.”