ADELAIDE Lightning point guard Lauren Mansfield has been announced as the first of three national imports to play with the Launceston Tornadoes this year.
Mansfield was scouted by new Tornadoes coach Peta Sinclair and the 24-year-old will replace Tornadoes star Stacey Poke who has moved to Queensland to further her education.
The Tornadoes are negotiating with two other import players and an announcement is expected next week.
Mansfield is looking forward to playing SEABL basketball with the Tornadoes as it will give her an opportunity to prove herself on the Australian scene.
Presently involved with the Adelaide Lightning as they prepare for the WNBL finals Mansfield had spent the previous two seasons with US college team Iowa State University Cyclones.
She was co-captain of the Cyclones in her final year and made the university's honour roll for her contribution to the team.
With the Adelaide Lightning sitting in third place on the WNBL ladder and a finals spot looming Mansfield is not expected in Tasmania until the end of the month.
She is likely to miss the start of the North-West club season where she will also play.
Mansfield is regarded as a versatile player with a solid three-point average and her assists and turnover contributions will help the Tornadoes.
Sinclair has been impressed with Mansfield's work rate and decided she would be a valuable addition to the playing roster.
Unfortunately Sydney Flames forward Tayla Roberts seems unlikely to join the Tornadoes this year.
Roberts is originally from Launceston and has played the past two seasons in the WNBL.
The former Australian rookie of the year hasn't come to terms with the Tornadoes and seems likely to play with the Hobart Chargers instead.
The Tornadoes open their season with a clash against Hobart at Elphin on March 16 and are aiming to better last year's 8-18 result which saw the team finish seventh.