Ipswich Force basketballer Amanda
Ipswich Force basketballer Amanda "AJ'' Johnson is off to Sydney. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich player's Sydney signing 'to have positive effect'

THE Ipswich Force players will have an added reason to be upbeat when they hop on the team bus on Saturday morning.

They'll be able to share a major success with popular American import Amanda "AJ'' Johnson.

Johnson, 28, has signed with the Sydney Uni Flames for the next Women's National Basketball League season.

Preparing for Force's latest state league road trip to Gladstone, Ipswich head coach Brad George said it was satisfying for the association and especially the players to see Johnson recruited to the top level in Australia.

"It's only just been released today,'' George said of the timely news.

"It will have a positive effect on the other girls. They will be excited for her.

"It shows there's a good pathway (from the QBL to WNBL). If they are good enough and want to put in the effort and time, it can pay off.''

The 1.87cm Californian basketballer has been one of the stars in this year's QBL season.

"Sydney were looking for a forward who can shoot and be mobile as well, the way the game has changed here in Australia,'' George said.

"She fits that and she'll take one of the three import spots. It's a good achievement for her.''

AJ will be the latest Force player off to the WNBL after she completes her Force state league commitments.

Other former WNBL players with strong Ipswich links include current Force captain Bree Farley (South East Queensland Stars) and ex-regulars Nadeen Payne (Adelaide Lightning, Stars) and Emma Langford (Logan).

Exciting former Force talent Shyla Heal has just signed with the Perth WNBL team.