Leicester Riders are pleased to announce four returnees from last years squad.

Erin Hikin, Robyn Ainge, Katie Januszewska & Eimhear Morris will all suit up again for the Riders in the upcoming 2021/22 WBBL Season.

Hikin will enter her third season with Riders after previously being a member of the 2019/20 WBBL Trophy winning side and the 2020/21 WBBL Cup winning side.

Ainge, Januszewska and Morris will all be playing in their second season with the Riders. Ainge, who averaged 12.7ppg, 5.1rpg & 3.3apg for Loughborough Riders in WNBL D1 last year commented: “Last season was extremely tough for everyone in the league, but it was a great experience for my first WBBL season. I know what to expect now and feel as though my game has adjusted. I am really excited to get the season started again and hopefully win some trophies!!”

Januszewska who is an England & GB youth international saw her court time grow as the WBBL season progressed last term. KJ’s best game came in a win over the League Champions, the Sevenoaks Suns as she scored 16 points.

“I am excited for my second season in the WBBL and I feel I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from last season. I want to continue to build upon that this upcoming season. I am also looking forward to progressing further with my development as well as helping the team.”

Irish guard Morris will continue to combine her degree at Loughborough Uni with playing for the Riders. “I am extremely excited to see what this up-and-coming season has in store for us as a team. We have new coaches and teammates this season. its always nice to have a change but also good to see old faces. I can’t wait to get started and to continue my studies at Loughborough alongside competing.”

Rouse is a Rider

Louise Rouse has signed for the Leicester Riders ahead of the 2021/22 WBBL Season.

Rouse makes the switch to the East Midlands after two seasons with the Oakland Wolves where the 19 year old became a mainstay of their side.

Last year in WBBL Championship action she averaged 8.2ppg & 5.7rpg in nearly 25 minutes of action.

Rouse commented “I’m very excited to be joining the Riders this season.“

“I’ll have a great opportunity to develop my game at a top basketball program whilst also studying at a great university.“

“I hope to bring enthusiasm and drive to the team and a willingness to learn and improve every day“

Coach Washington is equally excited to add Rouse to his roster.

“We are very lucky to have a young exciting British player like Louise on our squad for the upcoming season.“

“ Louise has made great strides in her progress over the last couple of seasons and we aim to help her continue this at the Riders“

* Photo cred: Mansoor Ahmed

Stone Signs First Pro Deal

Makana Stone has signed her first professional contract with the Leicester Riders after having an impressive debut season playing in WNBL D1 for Loughborough Riders.

Stone was an almost ever-present figure in the Loughborough Riders team, playing 17 out of 19 games and receiving team of the year honours.

She had an immediate impact putting up double-doubles averaging 15.9PPG, 13.6RPG and 3.4SPG.

She also finished with the league’s third highest efficiency rating and played a key role in helping the Loughborough Riders go 13-6 to claim 3rd place in the league.

The former Whiteman College athlete commented

“Let’s gooo! I am so stoked to have signed with and spend another season with the Riders family. It has been a goal of mine to play professionally overseas.”

“As an NCAA D3 women’s basketball player it has taken a combination of regulation changes within BE/WBBL, my family and coaches unconditional love and support, and lots of personal development to be able to get here.”

“A lot has gone into the making of this opportunity and I am so ready to make the most of it!”

Stone added “I was blessed to be able to practice with the WBBL squad last season and I am so excited to level up and compete in this league.”

“I am really looking forward to officially contributing and being a part of the squad, playing alongside returners and welcoming some new faces!”

Riders GM Russell Levenston said “It is great to see Makana sign her first pro contract and remain within our programme set-up after a dominant season in the WNBL D1.”

“Makana is very hard working and carries herself well on and off the court, she is very deserving of this chance to showcase her ability at the highest level of the game in the UK. We are all excited to see Makana suit up for the Riders in the WBBL.”

Robb & Lappenkuper return for Riders

Hannah Robb will be returning to the Leicester Riders for the upcoming 2021/22 WBBL Season.

Robb played an instrumental part in the Riders winning the WBBL Cup last season with 17 points in the final against the Sevenoaks Suns

At only 23 years of age the former Caledonia Pride guard will already be entering her 6th season in the WBBL.

She has already clocked up over 100 games across all WBBL competitions and currently sits joint 13th for all time threes made across all WBBL games.

Last year in WBBL Championship play she averaged 9.3ppg, 3.3rpg & 2.2apg and was second in three point shooting for the Riders.

“I’m very excited to be back for another year with the Riders! It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to grow individually and with the team. I had a lot of fun last year and I’m eager to get back out there and build upon what we achieved last season.”

“It will be great to meet the new players as well as seeing some more familiar faces. I’m really looking forward to what will be another competitive and exciting year for this team!”

Coach Washington is looking forward to having Robb back in the Riders ranks.

“We are excited to have Hannah back with us this season, not only for her shooting ability but for her leadership qualities as well”

“On and off the court she will have a positive impact on the team with her experience and this will be particularly valuable for our younger players”

“I believe she will have a career year in the WBBL this season”

Also joining Robb for a second season with the Riders is German international guard Anna Lappenkuper.

Lappenkuper averaged 26.8 minutes per game with 7.3ppg, 3.1rpg & 2.8 apg in WBBL Championship action last year.

“I’m excited for this new season. This will be my second season in Leicester and we have a new coach and team. I’m really excited to get started with pre-season and getting to know everyone.”

Pre-season home games announced

Leicester Riders have confirmed two home pre-season fixtures as Rob Paternostro’s side prepare for the 2021-22 BBL season.

Riders fans will get there first chance to get a glimpse of this seasons’ squad in the traditional RED v PURPLE game when Leicester host feeder side Loughborough Riders of the NBL.

The game will take place at 8pm on Friday 3 September at the Morningside Arena.

Riders have also announced their annual fixture with USA Select will take place on Wednesday 8 September at 7.30pm. The USA side are made up of touring American players hoping to gain a contract over in Europe.

Season ticket holders who purchase a USA Select game will receive a FREE ticket to the Loughborough Riders game.

Tickets can be purchased online for both Loughborough Riders and USA Select games.

Thank you Holly

After reaching an agreement with London Lions which sees the departure of Holly Winterburn to the capital, Leicester Riders Managing Director thanks the former Oregon Duck for her efforts in a Riders jersey.

“We have a long history with Holly having brought her through the programme, and taking her back after her time at Oregon,” reflected Rider Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“She leaves here on good terms and we wish her all the best for the future.”

“We’re really excited about our new coaching staff and the direction they wish to take the women’s side of our programme. We are building a new team and we are all really looking forward to seeing them in action.”

“We have some exciting announcements to come as our team takes shape ahead of the new WBBL season.”

Ndoukou named in Riders roster

British young gun Victor Ndoukou has been named to the Leicester Riders roster for the 2021-22 season.

Ndoukou, who is studying at Loughborough College, will also represent Charnwood and Loughborough Riders following on from last season.

“I’m excited to be part of the Riders roster again this season,” reflected Victor.

“Being able to compete with professional players everyday will help my development and I am grateful for the opportunity. I am really looking to push on and take my opportunities when they come.”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented:

“Victor is a very talented young player with good size and the ability to play inside and out.” 

“Competing against professionals everyday last season was really beneficial to  his game and we believe that he is a player that can do great things in the future.“

Riders will get their pre-season underway on September 8, before heading to the Netherlands for two games against Donar Groningen.

Riders confirm dutch trip

Leicester Riders have confirmed they will travel to Holland to face Donar Groningen as part of their pre-season.

Donar played in the Basketball Champions League qualifiers and FIBA Europe Cup last season and will act as a good test for Rob Paternostro’s men.

“Pre-season is a vital part of our preparations for the new season and we are excited to be able to head to Holland to face Groningen,” confirmed Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“These games are not only great for us ahead of the new BBL season but have acted as a good test and learning experience for us with a view to re-entering European competition in the future.”

Riders will face Donar twice on the trip on September 10 at 6.30pm (UK time) and September 12 at 1pm (UK time).

It is also expected that Riders fans will get their first opportunity to see the team at home on September 8 ahead of the trip to the Netherlands.

Riders add Mackenzie to roster

Riders have added combo guard Kimbal Mackenzie to their roster for the 2021-22 season.

Mackenzie, who’s been playing this summer in the CEBL alongside Rider Mo Walker and former Rider Corey Johnson, has signed a one year deal in Leicester after spending two seasons in Spain in LEB Gold.

“I’m so excited to be joining Leicester. I can’t wait to get to the UK for the first time, to get to know my teammates and the coaches, and to start building towards a championship,” commented Mackenzie.

“I’ve followed the team and heard great things about the program, coach Rob (Paternostro), and the overall culture of Leicester basketball. I’m looking forward to being a part of this winning program.”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented:

“We are looking forward to working with Kimbal, he is a really talented player that we have followed since his time at Bucknell. John Griffin, one of our former players coached him there and we spoke about him often. On the court and off the court we have heard great things.”

“He is a combo guard who can be very dangerous with the ball in his hands… but has also been very effective in college and in Spain at playing off the ball.”

“Kimbal has the ability to score in many ways and has a good understanding of how to read the defence in order to make plays. He has good experience in a good LEB Gold league in Spain and joins a team with a lot of experienced players.“

Hedley back with Riders

Guard Justin Hedley returns to the Riders for the 2021-22 season after making his debut for the club last season. Hedley who is studying at Loughborough University will be in Rob Paternostro’s twelve for this season.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Riders for another season. We’re all really looking forward to meeting with the fans again,” reflected Justin. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity that both the Riders and Loughborough University have given me.”

“Justin is a young player that continues to put the work in to improve, we have been really impressed with his work ethic,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

“He has had a great summer working hard with our strength and conditioning team.” 

“He has great size and strength at the guard position, and has shown great ability to defend on the perimeter.”

Hedley has a dual citizenship having a British passport alongside his German heritage. Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston spoke of the partnership with Loughborough University:

“We are really happy to have Justin with us again next season. We have a great partnership with Loughborough University and we are able to provide players like Justin with a professional environment alongside his studies.”

“His attitude and work ethic last year has earned him a spot on our roster again this term.”

2021-22 fixtures released

The 2021-22 season gets underway with two home fixtures in the BBL Cup. Riders face Bristol Flyers on Friday 24th September (7.30pm) before hosting Surrey Scorchers on Sunday 26th September at 5pm.

Riders get their defence of the BBL Championship underway with a tasty home fixture against Newcastle Eagles on Friday 29th October 2021 (7.30pm).

Riders last game of 2021 will be versus London Lions on Thursday 30th December.

Our last game of the season is a trip to Scotland when Riders play Glasgow Rocks (Sunday 24 April 2022).

The full fixture list can be found here, Season Tickets are currently on sale via our ticket office.

Riders head South for BBL Cup

A new format BBL Cup sees the Riders as one of five teams in the southern group stage.

Leicester get competitive action underway against Bristol Flyers at home on Friday 24 September before a return leg on 23 October. The opening weekend also sees Riders host Surrey Scorchers on Sunday 26 September at 5pm, the trip to Surrey coming on Saturday 16 October.

Sunday 3 October sees the first road trip of the season down to Plymouth Raiders before hosting the Raiders on 24 October. Riders will host rivals London Lions on Wednesday 20 October with a trip to the capital still to be confirmed.

The bottom placed side will be eliminated from each of the groups, with the Quarter Final places determined as follows:

North Winner v South 4th
South Winner v North 4th
North RU v South 3rd
South RU v North 3rd

The Quarter Finals is a single leg on 12-14 November 2021 weekend with a two-legged semi final taking place in early December. The final will take place at the Utilita Arena Birmingham on Sunday 30 Jan 2022.

Riders unveil new look coaching team for WBBL

Derrick Washington joins the Leicester Riders family, taking the reins as head of the Women’s programme for the 2021-2022 WBBL season.

Washington, formally Head Coach and Director for the Norwood Flames in NBL 1, Central in Australia and a Minnesota State University alumnus, is looking ahead to pre-season and to getting his team on the court.

“As a professional coach I pride myself in being able to build relationships with everyone and to be a connector of people. Joining the Leicester Riders is a great fit for me because it’s such a connected, family-type organisation.”

“My mentality coming into this Head Coach position is to have a day to day growth mindset. If you can grow day to day and get better then the end result will take care of itself.”

“My goal is to not only continue the great success and tradition the Riders have built over the years but to help develop players to become better.”

Managing Director, Russell Levenston commented: “We’re really excited about Derrick joining the Leicester Riders as the Women’s Head Coach for the WBBL programme and the Loughborough University BUCS 1st team. For a young coach he brings a lot of experience to the club, coaching at a high level in America and the WNBA, through to Head Coaching in Australia. We are really excited for him to bring his energy to the Riders Women’s programme for next season’’

Marg Jones will join Washington’s coaching team this season as Assistant coach for the WBBL team and will head up the Women’s Charnwood Academy Programme based out of Loughborough. Marg, formally the Riders Division 1 Head Coach and Assistant WBBL Coach, returns to the Riders after three years back home in Canada, coaching within elite Women’s Basketball.

Credit: Joe Pinchin

“Everyone at the club is excited to have Marg back at the Riders programme. She was influential working alongside Krumesh Patel in the Riders Women’s programme, and now back as Head Coach for the Charnwood Academy. She brings an enormous amount of experience from Canada and her role with GB U20s. As a club we are excited for the season ahead’’ – Russell Levenston, Managing Director.

Follow @RidersWomen on Twitter for 2021-2022 season fixtures.