Sarah Boothe recalls fateful moment that sent her to AustraliaDecember 22, 2018
Sarah Boothe believes her connection with Australia is something that was meant to be.
The Melbourne Boomers import centre first came to this country in such fateful circumstances that it's hard to see it any other way.
In early 2017 Boothe came back to the US after a season in Europe and arrived home in Illinois without a set plan.
Sarah Boothe is embracing her time in the WNBL with Melbourne Boomers.Credit:Mick Connolly
That’s unusual for the Stanford graduate who usually would arrange a psychology internship after previously working with troubled youth during her summer.
But that summer, nothing had eventuated, at least until a fellow player she barely knew declined an offer to go to Australia but knew Boothe was a good fit so recommended her.
The Bulleen Boomers and coach Matt Paps needed a last-minute replacement centre after losing their original import. Boothe and Paps connected over the phone on a Sunday and Boothe was on the plane to Melbourne that Wednesday.
"It just came out of the blue, one of those 'meant to be' moments," Boothe told the Age this week.
"Timing is everything, as usually I would have a work commitment or something I couldn't back out of – that was the one time I hadn't made any commitments.
"I went from having no plans to basically having my life turned around but that is the basketball lifestyle, one day we are here, one day on the other side of the world.
"I came here, I fell in love with Australia and was paired with an amazing family, the Goss family, who have become like my own family."
Boothe went back to Europe last Australian summer then made a return to the Big V this year. This was where Melbourne Boomers coach Guy Molloy and general manager Justin Nelson saw her play and offered a chance to remain for the WNBL.
After playing at leading leagues in Europe, the 27-year-old has adapted to playing more of a support role for the Boomers who wanted an experienced centre to match emerging Opals centre Ezi Magbegor.
"We have an amazing team, a very deep team and I'm in a different role," Boothe said.
"It's different to what I usually play but everyone is about playing team ball and winning and everyone's goal is to win the grand final so it's been fun, and been fun travelling and seeing the rest of the country."
Boothe has handled her role well and she will be needed when the Boomers face rivals Dandenong Rangers at the State Basketball Centre on Sunday. She will be facing a familiar opponent in Rangers import Kayla Pedersen, her former college teammate at Stanford.
"It's nice reconnecting and seeing each other while in this area," Boothe said.
"I always like going against her, she is such a good and physical player that we always end up banging it out under the basket.
"There should be a good atmosphere right before the holidays and, hopefully, we can win that and enjoy the next couple of days of holidays."
Aside from the run to the WNBL semi finals, Boothe is still coming to grips with having a summer Christmas as she has always enjoyed a white Christmas, whether in the US or Europe.
Her young brother Nathan is also overseas for Christmas as he plays as an import in Germany.
"I still wigged out that it's Christmas next week, it feels more like I should be celebrating the fourth of July as my Christmases are always in cold and snow," Boothe said.
"I've gone Christmas shopping and things but it still hasn't connected that it's actually Christmas but I'll be excited as the family I live with put on a big Christmas so I’m looking forward to that."
Melbourne Boomers play Dandenong Rangers at the State Basketball Centre on Sunday at 3pm.
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