Former Bronco standout now thrives on the gridiron

It’s ready, set, hike time for Ashley Moody. But her chance to play football didn’t come until she finished up her collegiate basketball career.

Moody, 22, finished her eligibility with the Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball team in March. As soon as her season ended she was on the gridiron with the Los Angeles Amazons of the National Women’s Football Association.

“I always wanted to play football,” said Moody, who averaged 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Broncos. “When I was little my uncle had a team and he wanted to play but of course my mother said no. I love all sports but this is new so it’s exciting.”

Moody was introduced to the sport and the franchise by Tamara McDonald, a first-year assistant coach for the Broncos who was playing for the Amazons, but has since stopped because of injury.

McDonald talked up the football team with the Broncos and invited the seniors to come to a practice, an offer Moody gladly accepted.

Moody, a 5-foot-7 guard on the hardwood, said even she was surprised at what she found when it came to the team.

“I thought there would be all these massive 6-foot-4 women. And it wasn’t that at all,” she said. “There are players all different sizes, different ages. And the competition is tough. We play hard.”

Moody, a native of Carson, didn’t get much playing time at first but has become a valuable addition, particularly on special teams. The highlight for her this season was a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 41-14 win over the Phoenix Prowlers.

She has also seen some time at cornerback and has 13 carries for 133 yards on offense.

The Amazons are one of 38 teams in the league which is set to expand by nine teams in 2009. They are 9-0 and the only unbeaten team in the 19-team Southern Conference. They will host a playoff game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bassett Stadium in La Puente.

Moody can forsees the sport gaining in popularity.

“It is that way for every woman’s sport,” she said. “It always takes awhile to catch on. Look at the WNBA. It has become very popular but it wasn’t always that way.”

Although Moody is done with basketball, she still has a year left before getting her degree in graphic design. She plans to follow through with that.

“Definitely, school comes first,” she said.