Statement: Professional Men’s League License Awarded to “Premier Basketball Limited”

The British Basketball Federation (BBF) has today confirmed a three-year license has been awarded
to a consortium of British clubs for the professional men’s basketball league in Great Britain.

The BBF revoked the license from Basketball League Limited (the operating company of the BBL)
following breaches in the license after the 23/24 Season concluded. The BBF stated it would work
with the clubs to try and establish a route for the 24/25 season to go ahead and today confirmed a
new license has now been issued.

Chris Grant OBE, Chair of the British Basketball Federation said: “I’m delighted that fans, players,
staff and partners can look forward with confidence to the continuation of top-level British club
basketball.

“The fact that we’ve been able to move so quickly following the termination of the previous licence
is down to the positivity and unity of the clubs, as well as the professionalism and focus of our BBF
team and Board.

“The way we’ve worked together bodes well for the ongoing improvement and alignment of our
player pathway so that the wealth of British basketball talent can translate to success on the
international stage.”

Speaking on behalf of the consortium of clubs, Vaughn Millette, new majority shareholder of
Sheffield Sharks, said:

“Since the license was revoked, we (the clubs) have all worked together to sustain the elite
professional pathway in the UK. There has been a huge amount of work undertaken in a very short
amount of time to enable this to happen.

“We would like to thank Chris Grant and the team at the BBF for working with us to deliver this
solution and reassure our fans that a professional basketball league will get underway this
September.

“We are pleased that the British Basketball Federation has made the decision to award the men’s
professional license to our newly formed operating company “Premier Basketball Limited”. Our fans
will appreciate there is a huge amount still to be done and more details will be released shortly –
including the fixture schedule for the forthcoming season.”

Premier Basketball Limited has been established by clubs that previously competed in the BBL.
The new League name, club line-ups, start date and fixtures will all be announced in the weeks to
follow.

Leicester Riders announce interim management structure

Leicester Riders announce new interim management arrangements as part of an ongoing restructure of their three businesses.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Red Monkey Play will, on an interim part-time basis, provide ongoing managerial oversight of the businesses, and support and drive, in particular, the preparations for the new Riders basketball season.

Mark Torr, joint Managing Partner at Leicester accountants Torr Waterfield, will also continue to provide financial oversight of the businesses, while the new structure of the businesses is finalised and implemented.

Simon and Mark are long time sponsors and supporters of the Riders, and Simon is also the Chairman of Leicester Riders Foundation, as well as another well-known Leicester charity, the Furnley House Foundation.

Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge said,

“We are hugely appreciative of the support and experience Simon and Mark are providing to the businesses over the last number of months, and their commitment to defining a new way forward for the growth and sustainability of the Club.

“We are all busy making preparations for the new season in September, and these changes will accelerate that process.”

Leicester Riders announce departure of Managing Director Russell Levenston

Leicester Riders announce the departure of Managing Director Russell Levenston.

Russell is moving on to pursue new opportunities, after 17 years with the Club.

Riders wish to thank Russell for his great service to the Club, which covered a period of very significant developments off the court, and exceptional success on the court.

The Board and all the staff and players at the Riders wish Russell well in all his future endeavours.

Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge commented:

“Thank you to Russell for great service over many years, which helped to develop and grow the Club. His work is appreciated by everybody at the Riders, and we wish him luck for whatever is next.”

Please stand by for further communications from the Club, which will be provided in the coming days.

A message from Russell Levenston

Dear Riders Fans, Sponsors, Staff, and Volunteers,

After 17 years, more latterly as Managing Director of the Leicester Riders, it is with a very heavy heart that I must say goodbye. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported me since I joined the club. I have countless stories and fond memories shared with the people whose lives we as a club have impacted.

My journey with the Riders began in 2007 when I moved from Milton Keynes to Leicester as a young British basketball fanatic. Vince Macaulay, my mentor for over 30 years, guided me as I took the bold step of investing in the Leicester Riders. Many thought I was crazy, but I believed in the potential of British basketball to change lives. I am proud to say that belief has been validated by the programs’ successes – the men’s team winning 17 BBL national titles in the past 11 years and the women’s team securing 4 WBBL national titles.

One of my proudest achievements has been establishing pathways for athletes in partnership with Loughborough University, Loughborough College, and Charnwood College. These pathways have allowed aspiring professional athletes to receive high-level education comparable to opportunities in the USA and other countries. The academy’s success in EABL, WEABL, and BUCS is a testament to our efforts.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Robert Jelley for his unwavering support, both personally and financially. Without Robert’s support, the Leicester Riders program would not be where it is today, and I am forever grateful for his contributions. Robert helped lay the foundations and supported a great community program that has changed many lives.

My passion has always been to prove that British basketball can be successful both on and off the court with the right approach. I want to thank every Riders fan, volunteer, player, and staff member who believed in the vision and direction of the club. Your support has been invaluable, especially in those early days.

There are many players and staff I would like to acknowledge, but I must single out Rob Paternostro, who has been a colleague and great friend for the past 16 years. Our journey together has been filled with challenges, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else. I have loved every minute of it both the ups and downs! 

To the sponsors and partners, thank you for your unwavering support and belief in our vision. Your passion and commitment have been instrumental in our success.

Lastly, I want to thank my family. My parents and brothers, who initially thought I was crazy for leaving my job at Reebok in 2007 to take on this project, have supported me every step of the way. My amazing wife has been my rock, enduring my 24/7 work schedule, and my children, who have become diehard Riders fans. One of my best moments was during the playoffs this year, seeing Noah on the drums and Lydia on the horn, rallying the Riders fans. My family has shared many special moments with me during this journey, and I couldn’t have done it without their support. 

As I step away, I am not sure what comes next other than taking some time off to spend with my family. However, I am confident that I will not be far from British basketball for long.

Good luck to all of the Riders family and to Kevin Routledge, who will continue to take the Riders program forward.

With gratitude and best wishes,

Russell Levenston

Club Statement: British Basketball League

Following the announcement by the British Basketball Federation, the governing body of Basketball League Ltd (BBL), to terminate the current operational professional league licence, the BBL Clubs have taken the decision to issue the following statement.

In what has been a very challenging period in recent times, the decision to act by the BBF has been accepted in good faith by the incumbent club members of the British Basketball League, including Leicester Riders.

We understand the decision was not taken without serious consideration of what would be best for the future of professional basketball across the UK.

Furthermore, the BBL Club owners will now begin the task of co-operating with the BBF to ensure there is a topflight men’s professional League operating from September 2024 and to assist British Basketball and its stakeholders in the rebuilding and strengthening of the position for our sport.

The British Basketball League has made a significant impact in the growth of the game in profile, participation, development pathways, performance and especially in new purpose built Arenas and it is our intention to continue these contributions in partnership with the governing body.

Further information will be made available in the near future, meanwhile all existing clubs will continue with their summer preparations for the new season.

Report: Riders fall to Lions in Playoff semi-final

Leicester Riders’ season ended in London, as they fell in the Women’s British Basketball League Playoff semi-finals 95-70 to the London Lions. 

It was a closely fought first half, the Riders taking a seven point lead in the first quarter through hot three point shooting. But the EuroCup champions battled back and took control in the absence of Riders’ captain Mckenzie Johnson, who was injured at the end of the second quarter. 

Riders’ record-breaking leading scorer Taylor O’Brien led the team again with 19 points and 8 rebounds, days after being named to the Team of the Year. She was backed by Jessica Eadsforth-Yates, who went 4-9 from three for 12 points and 5 rebounds. 

A big night for London’s Abby Meyers saw her lead the game with 22 points, as six Lions scored in double digits to book their spot in the Final. Mayers went 9-16 from the field and pulled down 5 boards. 

Red hot Riders start takes first quarter lead

The Riders had a hot start from deep, draining five triples in the opening five minutes to jump out to a 10-17 lead. Sharpshooters Katie Januszewska and Eadsforth-Yates had two each from behind the arc.

Lions’ guard Meyers found lanes to the hoop on the other end to cut into the Riders’ lead with 6 points, London starting 7-7 from two point range. But the hosts started cold from the outside, going 0-7 from three in the first quarter. 

Their first one went down with a minute left, as Shanice Beckford-Norton gave the Lions the lead. This took the lid off, and Katsiaryna Snytsina knocked down another to send the sides into the first quarter break with London leading 22-18. 

Meyers leads London to big lead

The start of the second saw the Riders cool off, and the Lions built their lead to eight. Maya Price hit a long two to force a Riders timeout a minute and a half in.

Johnston ended the cold streak with a corner triple for her first points of the afternoon. She was followed by O’Brien, who began her patented attacks of the rim to get to the foul line and keep the scoreboard ticking over for Leicester. 

Despite O’Brien’s play, the Riders’ deficit grew thanks to the red hot hand of Meyers, who brought her game tally to 11 with a three. It was a 15 point Lions lead with 3:52 left in the half. 

Riders run brings visitors back into it

An Erin Powell three, followed by an O’Brien runner, breathed life back into the Riders. With under two minutes left in the half, O’Brien pulled up and banked in a triple, cutting the deficit to single digits and forcing a London timeout. 

The Riders, rolling, put the ball in the hands of Januszewska, who logged her 7th points to further make inroads. 

Late London buckets from Snytsina and Meyers made it 48-38 at the break, the Riders in touching distance. But Johnston took an elbow to the face as the half closed, seeing her out for the game.

Lions rebuild lead out of the half

A breathless start to the second half saw a Marrissa Hamilton and-one play met by back-to-back threes from Holly Winterburn, as the Lions edged ahead. Savannah Wilkinson drained her first three of the game with 6:25 on the clock, for her 13th points and giving the Lions an 18 point lead. 

The Riders’ defence stood strong, keeping the hosts to two points in three minutes, but with Johnston on the sidelines struggled to generate offence. 

O’Brien, as she did in the second, continued to get to the foul line on her drives to the rim. She made it 17 points on the game, making the score 70-50. Shahd Abboud followed with a spin move from the midrange to trigger a Lions timeout. 

To end the third, Faye Endean hit from close to make it 72-52 with one quarter to play. 

London sees the game out

Abboud got the fourth underway with a smooth fake spin, laying in a two at the rim. In response, Beckford-Norton scored two straight buckets to seize back control for the hosts. 

Januszewska stayed hot, draining her third three of the game as the Riders kept chipping away. Eadsforth-Yates went back-to-back from three to make it 12 on the night from the British guard. 

Endean made the last bucket of the night from the foul line however, and the Lions won the fourth 23-16 to see it out. 

Playoff semi-final preview: Leicester Riders at London Lions

Leicester Riders are a game away from the Playoff Final at the O2 Arena. Standing in their way: the undefeated, EuroCup champion London Lions, looking for their third-straight clean sweep. 

Here’s how the playoff semi-final is shaping up.

Last time out

The Riders were forced to battle back in the quarter-finals to beat the Essex Rebels in the clutch. A slow start at the Mattioli Arena saw Leicester down as much as 21, but fought back behind Taylor O’Brien’s 21 points and 17 rebounds. 

Leicester’s biggest lead of the night was two points- their winning margin at the end of the game. Once the Riders were back in it in the fourth, Shahd Abboud took over with big shots as the hosts vanquished their first playoff foe. 

It was a gutsy win, as the Riders dug deep, stemmed the Rebels momentum and slowly climbed back into it over three quarters. They’ll take confidence from their late form into the game against London. 

Record-breaking O’Brien

Leading the team in the playoff opener followed the season trend for Riders’ star guard Taylor O’Brien, who was named to the British Basketball League Team of the Year this week.

READ MORE: Taylor O’Brien named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Year

The rookie American broke the Riders’ single-season scoring record this year, surpassing Oceana Hamilton with 328 points. 

O’Brien is lightning fast from the backcourt, attacking the rim relentlessly from wire-to-wire. She runs the pick-and-roll effectively to get her moving down hill, and her determination and hustle gets her on the offensive glass for second chance points. 

She’ll attack the heart of the Lions’ defence all night long at the Copper Box, attempting to help the Riders to their second-straight visit to the O2 Arena. 

Lions’ season

The Lions, last season’s quadruple winners, are yet to be defeated in the British Basketball League this year. They won the League with a  20-0 record, and won the Trophy in January after facing the Rebels in the Final. 

However, key players departed to the WNBA ahead of the Lions’ playoff run, including Karlie Samuelson, Temi Fagbenle, Megan Gustafson and Shey Peddy. Samuelson and Gustafson were the Lions’ two leading scorers on the season, the latter winning the Trophy Final MVP. 

The adjustment to the departures was felt in their playoff opener, despite confidently putting away the Nottingham Wildcats. The Lions, who averaged 98 points per game over the season, mustered only 80 against Nottingham, winning by 10 on the final buzzer.

Compared to the Lions’ 140-42 and 105-49 wins against the Wildcats earlier in the year, the win was underwhelming as they felt the effects of losing their leading scorers. 

One to watch

Holly Winterburn

13.5 points, 4.4 assists, 60.8 FG%, 52.1% 3PT%

Remaining on their roster, however, is Holly Winterburn, who arrived on the European stage for this season. She hit the shot of the EuroCup final, her game-winning three which was dubbed the biggest shot in British basketball history against Besiktas. 

Her season can be defined by more than that single three, however. The former Riders led the League in three point percentage, knocking down a red hot 52.1% of her looks from deep, and hitting on 60.8% of her field goals. 

Winterburn played once against the Riders this season, but didn’t make her typical scoring impact with only 8 points. But she showed her ability to affect the game in multiple facets, finishing with 6 assists. 

Expect Winterburn to show up in the biggest moments should this one be close late. 

Where to watch

The game will be shown live on the Women’s British Basketball League YouTube channel, tipping off at 4:30 pm. 

Taylor O’Brien named to 2024 Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Year

The Women’s British Basketball League today announced that Taylor O’Brien has been named to the 2024 Team of the Year. 

The rookie guard led the Club in scoring this season with 16.4 points per game. With 328 points scored, she surpassed Oceana Hamilton for the Riders’ single-season scoring record. 16.4 points is also the highest single-season average in Riders history. 

In 21 games, she scored in double-digits on 17 occasions, scoring a season-high 30 points in the final game of the season against Sheffield Hatters. 

O’Brien’s 6 rebounds per game ranked second on the team, and logged double digits in rebounds on four occasions from the guard position. 

It’s an honour to be named to the Team of the Year,” said O’Brien. “I owe it all to my teammates, coaches, family, friends and everyone who has impacted my first year playing overseas. 

“There have been so many people that have helped me in tremendous ways and I’m so grateful for their guidance and support all season. I really could not have done it without them.”

Head Coach Ben Stanley commented: “Taylor has been electric for us this season.  While people will rightly look at her scoring and ability to get to the rim, she’s contributed in a number of different ways. 

“She has improved her passing over the season, and owned the glass in a number of big games, none more so than her 17 boards in the playoff first round. She’s been a huge part of our success this season.”

Leicester Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston added: “Congratulations to Taylor for being named to the 2024 Team of the Year. It’s right that she is recognised for her incredible achievements this season, having broken multiple records in Riders red. 

“Well done Taylor!”

Sam Ashby named to 2024 Women’s British Basketball League British Team of the Year

The Women’s British Basketball League today announced that Sam Ashby has been named to the 2024 British Team of the year. 

The Australian/British rookie was the Club’s second-leading scorer (13.6) and led the team in steals (1.8). She scored in double digits on 17 occasions in 21 appearances this season, putting up a season-high of 23 points and 7 rebounds against Oaklands Wolves in March. 

Ashby’s performances earned her a starting spot for Team South in the 2024 British Basketball League All Star game.

She also received her first international call up for Great Britain in November. 

The British Team of the Year selection adds to Ashby’s growing list of accolades, which includes Associated and Catholic Colleges Most Valuable Player in 2017 and Most Outstanding Female Basketballer in 2016 and 2017 for Newman College, Perth. 

 “It’s an honour to be chosen in a pool of such amazing British athletes this league has brought together,” said Ashby. 

Head Coach Ben Stanley commented: “Sam’s really developed from the start of the year to now, playing out of pick-and-roll and improving her decision making.  

“When you combine that with her ability to shoot the ball and her inherent toughness it’s no surprise she has made the British Team of the Tear, and we’re looking forward to seeing her on the international stage further with GB.”

Leicester Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston added: “Congratulations to Sam for her selection on the British Team of the Year. We have been impressed with how she acquitted herself all season both domestically and internationally, on and off the court.

“Well done Sam!” 

Rayven Peeples named to 2024 Women’s British Basketball League Defensive Team of the Year

The Women’s British Basketball League today announced that Rayven Peeples has been named to the 2024 Defensive Team of the Year. 

The American rookie ranked fourth among all players in blocks per game (1.4) and second in rebounds per game (11), leading the Club in both categories. 

Peeples logged six games with multiple blocked shots this season, including a season-high 4 blocks to go with 18 points and 13 rebounds against Cardiff Met Archers in February. She also recorded 12 games with double-digit rebounds, and a season-high of 18. 

Her average in blocks was a career-high for Peeples, bettering any of her three seasons at St John’s University and her single season at North Carolina A&T State University.

“Being selected to the defensive team of the year is a major accomplishment for me,” said Peeples. 

“My game has always been driven by my play on both ends of the floor, and I have always taken pride in being a great defender. Thank you to my coaching staff and teammates for putting me in a position to succeed.” 

Head Coach Ben Stanley commented: “Rayven has been an anchor for us on the defensive end all season. She’s not only defended her position but been great in switches and rotations as well as meeting the challenge to be dominate on the defensive glass. 

“We wouldn’t be where we are without her contribution at both ends of the floor.”

Leicester Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston added: “Congratulations to Rayven for earning a place on the Defensive Team of the Year. 

“She has been an outstanding performer on both ends this season, and she deserves to be recognised for her efforts on the defensive side of the floor. Well done Rayven!” 

The Riders return to action on Sunday, taking on the London Lions in the Women’s British Basketball League Playoff semi-finals.

Report: Riders fall in clutch to Sharks

Leicester Riders fell 74-77 to Sheffield Sharks in Game Two of the British Basketball League Quarter-Finals.

Prentiss Nixon’s game winner forced a Game Three in Sheffield, after a closely fought battle throughout. 

Teddy Allen led the tie with 23, hitting big shots consistently to keep the Riders in touch. The Riders had a chance to tie with 1.6 seconds on the clock, but Miryne Thomas’ attempt missed, and he found no call despite claims of contact. 

Malek Green led the Sharks with 22 points and 11 rebounds going 10-13 from the field. 

Game Three is to be played on Sunday May 5 at 4pm, at the Canon Medical Arena. 

Teddy takeover starts Game Two

Allen took over the opening stages with his tough shot making, draining two-and-ones including a fadeaway out of a double team. He scored six to lead Leicester to a 12-9 start by the media timeout. 

Duke Shelton, checking into the game for the first time, made an immediate impact with a slam, running the pick-and-roll with Sesan Russell. He pulled down an offensive board next time down which led to a Thomas hookshot, and putback Jaren Holmes‘ miss to put Leicester up 18-11. 

Fending off the fightback

Nixon picked up where he left off after 25 points in Game One, draining a corner three for Sheffield off the bench. He and Kipper Nichols took over for a stretch, and the Sharks tied it at 24 quickly in the second period. 

Allen stayed hot, hitting a triple from the top to get three points back for the hosts. TJ Lall drove inside for an and-one, then Conner Washington stepped up to hit a three, which took the roof off the Arena and rebuilt the Leicester lead to seven. 

A three from Allen with 3:48 left in the half, following Sam Idowu’s second block of the game, made it double digits and brought his tally to 12. 

It was Thomas’ time to get to work a minute later. He sized up Marcus Delpeche at the top of the arc, stepping back for three to make it 45-30. 

Ratinho run gets Sheffield back in it

Jordan Ratinho was the Shark to snatch momentum back, laying in a two before driving on the fastbreak to be sent to the foul line by Idowu.

After he made both, Ramsey stole the ball and found Ratinho on the run again, and he went to the line for two more to make it 45-38 with 1:07 left in the half. 

Russell, fighting among the trees for an offensive board, made a trip to the stripe himself to stop the 6-0 Ratinho run, but out of a timeout Nixon got to the midrange for two. The half ended with Green at the line, who made it 47-41 at the break. 

Sharks snatch the lead in tense third

RJ Eytle-Rock started the half with two buckets at the rim for the Sharks to make it a one score game. But Russell once again settled the team by making his way to the line, stealing the ball from Ramsey in transition and taking a charge on him in three straight plays. 

Russell was relentless, covering all 94 feet on defence to suffocate the Sharks. But his defence on Green in the post was deemed too physical for the officials, and he was forced to the bench in foul trouble. 

With Russell on the bench, Green tied it up with a drive to the rim with 5:30 left in the third, and the Sharks then took the lead at the hands of Delpeche. 

Defences locked down for the rest of the third, with only one point scored in over two minutes. Sheffield led by a score during that time until Jalon Pipkins laid in a two to make it 56-60. He then got to the hoop to start the fourth for two more. 

Sharks hit game winner in closely fought clutch

Despite a defensive start to the fourth, Idowu and Lall came up with Riders scores to cut it to two. Allen scored four straight points, but Sheffield got to the rim back-to-back and they took a four point edge. 

Two offensive rebounds for Green in succession meant it was 64-70. But Allen came up with a huge four-point play, hitting a three through contact to keep the Riders in touch. Fading away on the baseline, he then hit a tough contested two, and was followed by a layup from Holmes. 

Allen and Lall both had chances to tie the game from three, but missed both attempts with two minutes left. Idowu then went to the foul line and made one of two to make it 72-74. 

Green missed from two, and Iwodu followed his own miss to tie with 50 seconds left. Idowu was called for a double dribble, giving the Sharks a shot to win. Nixon took it, and hit a three with 1.6 seconds left. 

Thomas had a chance to tie on the horn, but missed and found no call despite claims of contact, and the series was sent to a third game.

Riders beat Rebels to progress to playoff semis

Leicester Riders pulled off a comeback in the clutch to beat Essex Rebels 81-79 and progress to the semi finals of the Women’s British Basketball League Playoffs. 

The Riders were down by as much as 21 in the game, and 11 going into the final quarter, but pulled off a comeback led by star guard Taylor O’Brien’s 21 points and 17 rebounds. 

She had 6 rebounds in the fourth, but it was Shahd Abboud’s scoring which lit the fire under Leicester with back-to-back buckets, cutting it to three. Her layup with 52 seconds left proved to be the game winner for the hosts. 

Essex had a red hot start, running out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter, but the Riders chipped away until the fourth and snatched the win. Dayzsha Rogan led the game with 23 points and 9 rebounds, going 10-17 from the field. 

Essex take early lead

A 13-3 Rebels lead to start the game was built from tough shot making inside. Rogan scored 6 points in four minutes, banking in two layups off balance as she drove to the rim. 

After the middle had been established, Renee Busch hit a corner three to make it 13, and force a quick Riders timeout. Essex’s hot first quarter meant they started 22-3, led by 8 points from Rogan.

Marissa Hamilton took the lid off the basket for Leicester with a layup in the post, which was followed by a midrange from Mckenzie Johnston, making it 7-22. 

But after chipping into the deficit, it was back to 19 at the end of one after Tia Freeman was sent to the foul line to end the quarter, making it 11-30. 

Riders charge back into it 

Long range efforts continued to fall for the visitors in the second, keeping Leicester at distance. The Rebels were shooting 50% from three midway through the third, while Jessica Eadsforth-Yates knocked down the host’s second triple with four minutes left in the half. 

However, a run to close the second breathed life into Leicester. Katie Januszewska ran the fastbreak at 2:49 on the clock, driving to the rim and finishing through contact to make it 30-43. Erin Powell was next to chip away with two shots from the foul line, and the deficit was 11. 

Essex stemmed the tide with free throws from Busch, but O’Brien brought her tally to 11 with a tough finish at the rim, and Januszewska finished the half with a triple to enter the locker rooms down 39-50. 

Forced to fight back

Essex refound their early form to start the second half, building their lead back to 18. Rogan added two more buckets to her tally to shoulder the scoring load, continuing to battle in the paint. 

They had no answer for O’Brien, however, who kept the Riders’ side of the scoreboard ticking over and bringing her points total to 16. 

Building on their point guard’s play, the Riders fought their way back in it, forcing back-to-back turnovers in the closing seconds of the third. 

Abboud and O’Brien punished the mistakes, and Leicester went on a 9-0 run at the end of the quarter to make it 55-66 with one to play. 

Riders charge into the lead

Hamilton got the fourth underway with back-to-back scores, cutting the deficit to single digits for the first time since the opening stages. 

The Riders dominated the offensive glass from the backcourt through Eadsforth-Yates and Johnston, grabbing three in the first two minutes, and Johnston hit from the foul line after her second offensive board to make it 61-66. 

Essex slowed the Riders’ charge with a three from Claire Paxton, but Abboud responded from distance on two straight plays, making it a one possession game. Johnston then tied it up from the foul line, and Eadsforth-Yates drained a three to snatch the lead for Leicester. 

Winning a battle in the clutch 

Essex steadied themselves to regain the lead, Daniella Turner hitting back-to-back to put them up three.

But the Riders, through Januzsewska’s up and under for two, kept in the game, and Hamilton’s block leading to a shot clock violation gave them a chance to get ahead with under a minute on the clock. 

Abboud, again, drove to the hole and finished for two to capitalise on that chance, before Januzsewska stole the resulting inbound. She then pulled down an offensive rebound from an Eadsforth-Yates miss, but couldn’t put in the putback and the Rebels had a chance to win it. 

The shot fell to Paxton, but her three hit iron. O’Brien pulled down her 17th rebound, and she was sent to the line with 0.2 on the clock. She made one and missed the second, ending the game and winning it for Leicester. 

Heading to the capital

The Riders will head to the capital to face the undefeated London Lions in the semi final. A win would see them progress to the Final at the O2 Arena on May 19.

Playoff preview: Leicester Riders vs Essex Rebels

Leicester Riders are set to tip-off their 2024 Playoff campaign at the Mattioli Arena against Essex Rebels. 

The Riders enter the postseason as the 4-seed, finishing 15-5 in the Championship. Meanwhile the Rebels’ 11-9 record earned them the 5-seed following their trip to the Trophy Final in January. 

Here’s what to expect from the matchup.

Fixture information

Leicester Riders vs Essex Rebels 

Mattioli Arena, Leicester

Women’s British Basketball League Playoff Quarter-Finals

2:45 pm

One to watch

Kat Tudor

18.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists

American guard Kat Tudor is Essex’s leading scorer this season. She ended the season as the fourth leading scorer in the Women’s British Basketball League, and shot the best from the field of anyone in the top eight of the scoring charts at 46.3%. 

The 25-year-old joined the Rebels from Australian NBL1 West side Mandura Magic, where she was the second-leading score on the team with 15.6 points. 

Her scoring ability translated seamlessly to British basketball. She scored in double digits in every game this season, and averaged 28.5 over her last two Championship games. 

Tudor’s best performance of the season, 31/5 on 80% FG shooting, came in her penultimate game against Oaklands Wolves, heating up in time for the postseason.

She went 6-7 from three in that game, and is capable of catching a heater from deep on any night. She shot 7-12 against the Giants and 5-9 against the Riders earlier in the season.

Tudor also shot 5-6 from three on her way to 24 points to knock the Riders out of the Trophy in January, and will look for another red hot game as the Rebels get their Playoffs underway. 

Season series

In all competitions, the Riders won the season series against the Rebels 2-1. It was 2-0 in the Championship season, the Riders winning by an average of 8.5 in two closely fought games, but the Rebels won in a win-or-go-home Trophy game 84-70. 

Game one, played in Essex, was a 79-70 Riders win, led by Taylor O’Brien’s 20 points and Rayven Peeples’ 17. It was a closely fought affair, with a four point difference on the scorebaord with three minutes on the clock, but captain Mckenzie Johnston’s 6 points in the final minutes saw the Riders over the line. 

Kat Tudor’s game-high 25 points wasn’t enough for Essex, but 24 in the next game was. Tudor shot 6-7 from the field, 5-6 from three and 7-9 from the foul line in a red hot shooting night to progress past the Riders in the Trophy. 

The Riders were down by as much as 24 in the game, but pulled it back to six late in the fourth. However, five straight points from Tudor ended the Riders comeback, and their Trophy journey in the first round. 

The Riders’ revenge came in April, playing Essex at home for the first time. They won 60-52, Johnston leading Leicester with 15 points. The hosts led wire-to-wire, and by as much as 17 points in the third.

But a run at the end of the quarter saw the Rebels enter the fourth down only 46-40. Johnston, again, put the team on her back late to score six in the final two minutes of play, leading Leicester to a win. 

Battle on the boards

The rebounding battle was pivotal to the Riders’ success against Essex this season. In their two wins, they outrebounded their opponents 55-36.5, and by 16.5-5.1 on the offensive glass. The Riders rebounded by committee on the defensive end to complete defensive possessions repeatedly. 

However, in Essex’s Trophy win, they found joy on the boards for the first time against the Riders. They pulled down 47 to Leicester’s 38, and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to Leicester’s 11. 

The Riders, as the third best rebounders in the League this season, aren’t accustomed to losing the rebounding battle often, so winning on the glass will be pivotal to their success in this one. 

Where to watch

Tickets are on sale now for the Riders men’s and women’s playoff games at the Mattioli Arena. 

Doors open at 2:15 for a 2:45 women’s tip off, followed by the men’s tip off at 6:45.

READ MORE: Playoff Preview: Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Sharks Game Two

Thanks to the generosity of the Riders’ sponsors at RDL Technologies, Vertu Motors, Torr Waterfield, Jelson Homes and EverythingBranded, the first 1,200 fans through the door will receive a free “Dark Horse” playoff t-shirt. 

Get tickets here!

The game will also be shown live on the Women’s British Basketball League YouTube channel.

Preview: Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Hatters

Leicester Riders conclude their Women’s British Basketball League campaign against the Sheffield Hatters, in a game to decide third and fourth place in the Championship standings. 

A win for the Riders will see them lock up third with a 16-4 record, but a loss would see the Hatters take the tiebreaker and third place at 15-5. 

One to watch 

Georgia Gayle 

14.1 points, 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds

Hatters leading scorer and 2024 All Star Georgia Gayle is the number one scoring threat the Riders will need to key in on in this matchup. 

The granddaughter of Betty Codona, the pioneer of women’s British basketball and founder of the Hatters, Gayle is a GB international and experienced professional. 

This season, she leads the Hatters in scoring and assists, scoring in double-digits on 17 occasions and putting up 20 three times in 19 appearances. 

Gayle put up 13/4/4 last time out against the Riders, shooting 6-12 from the field. Keeping her quiet for 40 minutes would go a long way towards slowing Sheffield’s side of the scoreboard down. 

The numbers

These two teams have been some of the highest-powered offences in the League this season, ranking second and third in points per game. 

The Hatters are one of two teams to score over 80 a night (82.7), and maximise their possessions by turning the ball over the least in the League. Meanwhile the Riders, who score 78.5 per game, are an efficient shooting group, connecting on a second-best 44% of their field goals. 

The Riders have the game’s highest scorer in American rookie Taylor O’Brien, whose 15.7 points per game has earned her two Player of the Month awards over the course of the season. 

Meanwhile the Hatters have seven scorers giving them over 7 points a night, their offence by committee giving the Riders issues last time the teams faced off.  

Head-to-head

The Riders have faced the Hatters once before this season, falling 78-70 on the road. 

Desiree Ramos impressed with her highest-scoring performance on the season, putting up 25 points in 22 minutes, going 9-12 from the field. 

Turnovers were the difference in the game. Leicester lost the battle 25-11, and therefore lost a game in which they shot 43% from the field to Sheffield’s 36%. 

Riders’ All Star pairing of Sam Ashby and O’Brien combined for 36 (18 points each) to lead the team’s effort. 

But the loss means third place is up for grabs for the winner of this matchup. 

Tickets on sale

Tickets are on sale now for the Riders’ fixture against the Sheffield Hatters, and their playoff opener at the Mattioli Arena.

Playoff tickets include entry for both men’s and women’s playoff games on May 4, and the first 1,200 people through the door will receive a free “Dark Horse” playoff t-shirt.

Ticket information: 2024 Playoffs home opener

Leicester Riders play their men and women’s 2024 playoff home openers on Saturday, May 4. 

Our men’s home game has been confirmed to be played at 6:45 pm, and will be preceded by our women’s playoff fixture at 2:45 pm. 

Tickets will be released on general sale from tomorrow (April 23) at 5pm. 

Leicester Riders season ticket holders will receive priority for their usual seats until Friday, April 26, at 11:59 pm. 

Tickets include entry to both men’s and women’s quarter-final playoff games.

Thanks to the generosity of the Riders’ sponsors at RDL Technologies, Vertu Motors, Torr Waterfield, Jelson Homes and EverythingBranded, the first 1,200 fans at the Arena will receive a free Dark Horse Riders T-Shirt. 

Doors will open at the Arena before our women’s game, at 2:15 pm.

How things stand in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship

The postseason is fast approaching for Leicester Riders in a tightly packed Women’s British Basketball League Championship.

The Riders have two pivotal games remaining in their League season, which could see them land in second, third or fourth in the standings.

Here’s how things are shaping up for the Riders ahead of their final two games…

The state of play

The Riders currently sit third in the standings with a 15-3 record, tied with the Caledonia Gladiators and a win behind the undefeated London Lions, who have two games in hand. 

The Riders are battling for seeding with the Gladiators and the Sheffield Hatters in fourth, who are their two remaining fixtures. 

Sunday’s game against the Gladiators will decide the tiebreaker between the sides, which may prove vital come season’s end. Leicester currently possess it with a four point win against the Scots last week, so a win against Caledonia would lock up the two seed for the Riders. 

A loss however, would risk the potential of Leicester falling to the four seed, with a showdown against the Hatters awaiting. Sheffield is a win behind the Riders with the tiebreaker, so the winner of that matchup would take the three seed for the postseason. 

Riders’ recent form 

Leicester enter this game having won nine of their last 10 games in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship. 

They have responded to their only hiccup, a road loss to the Hatters, with three straight wins, including an important victory against the Gladiators in the clutch last time out. 

The Riders have beaten the Essex Rebels, who knocked them out of the Trophy in January, the Newcastle Eagles twice and the Gladiators on their recent run, coming out on top against the better teams in the Championship. 

The win against the Gladiators made a statement to the League as they approach the 2024 Playoffs. 

The numbers

The Riders have established themselves as one of the elite offensive threats in British basketball, putting up the second most points in the League this season with 75.9 per game. 

They have done so with efficiency inside, knocking down 49% of their two point looks, led by Rayevn Peeples who is connecting on 65% of her shots in close. 

Peeples has been pivotal for the Riders establishing themselves on the glass this year. She ranks first among all players in offensive rebounds, and second in total rebounds per game, while sending away an average of 1.1 blocks, third best in the League. 

Defensively, led once again by Peeples, the Riders average the most blocks of any team with 4.3 per game. Katie Janusewska has been key to this from the wing, putting up 0.8 blocks per game. 

But the leading scorer of the Riders’ high-powered offence is Taylor O’Brien. The two-time Player of the Month has put up 15.7 points per game in her rookie season. She comes off the back of scoring 13 of the team’s 59n points against the Gladiators, and will look to lead the Riders to a crucial road win in Caledonia.

Gallery 2024 All-Star Game

Leicester Riders Women’s stars suited up for the South to compete in the 2024 British Basketball League All Star game.

Take a look at the event through the lens…

https://bbl-photos.smugmug.com/202223-Finals-Content/202324-Season/British-Basketball-League-All-Star-Event/Tunnel-/i-VWP3WPJ/A
https://bbl-photos.smugmug.com/202223-Finals-Content/202324-Season/British-Basketball-League-All-Star-Event/Tunnel-/i-HrGQZ96/A
Championship Preview: Leicester Riders vs Oaklands Wolves

Leicester Riders return to Championship action, taking on Oaklands Wolves at Loughborough University.

Here’s how the game is shaping up…

Fixture information

Leicester Riders vs Oaklands Wolves

Loughborough University Netball Centre

Saturday, March 2, 6 pm

Get tickets here!

5 on the bounce 

The Riders enter this fixture having won their last five games, catching fire in the mid point of the Women’s British Basketball League Championship season. 

A winning weekend last week brought their record on the season to 11-2, good for second in the standings behind the undefeated London Lions. 

The weekend saw Leicester beat the Newcastle Eagles 90-75 at Mattioli Arena, before hitting the road to beat the Manchester Giants 92-67. All of the Riders wins on this streak have come by over 20 points, and they fire through games and climb the standings.

Star guard Taylor O’Brien has led the team through the stretch. She has led the scoring in the last three, and averaged 27 points over the last two. And the team has continued to assert themselves on the boards, led by Rayven Peeples who has logged a double double in four of the last five. 

The Riders return home to take on the Wolves, who they last played in the second game of the season. 

Contrasting form

In contrast to the Riders’ hot form, the Wolves enter this matchup looking to avoid making it five losses in the row. They have lost the last four by 20, and will look to turn their form around in Loughborough. 

Their last game was a 61-90 loss at home to the third-placed Caledonia Gladiators. They were outrebounded 23-53 by the visitors, so the Wolves will need to crash the glass to get a result against the Riders, who lead the League in offensive rebounding. 

Oaklands are typically solid in that department, pulling down 24.7 defensive rebounds per game, good for sixth in the League. 

Amy West leads them in rebounding with 6.9 per game, but missed a Gladiators game after a collision with a teammate in pregame warmups, which sidelined her with a head injury. Should she return to action against the Riders, she’ll be in for a battle at the rim with Peeples. 

Key matchup 

Topping the Wolves scoring charts this season is American guard Caterrion Thompson, who is averaging 16.2 points per game on the season so far. 

Thompson’s play this season should come as no surprise for those who have followed her career. She arrives in Oaklands having led the scoring for Finnish side Forssain, averaging 18.1 points per game. 

The Ohio-born guard started out her college career at Bowling Green, where she remained until her Junior year. As a Redshirt Junior, Thompson ranked second on her team in scoring with 13.7 points per game and averaged 5.3 rebounds. 

In her final college season with Mississippi State, Thompson averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds, leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage with 41%.

Tasked with the role of going toe-to-toe with Thompson is fellow American O’Brien. O’Brien, who also leads her team in scoring this season, is capable of going bucket for bucket with anyone in the League, as she demonstrated over her last two games. 

The rookie signed to the Riders from Florida State, averaging 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison.

Expect a battle in the backcourt between these two scoring guards.

Mckenzie Johnston named 2024 British Basketball League All-Star

Leicester Riders captain Mckenzie Johnston has been named to the 2024 British Basketball League All-Star team.

Team South Head Coach, Stella Kaltisdou, picked Johnston as one of her six reserves to suit up at the Copper Box Arena on March 24. 

This comes after Riders guard Sam Ashby was named an All-Star starter a week ago.

The full All-Star teams are as follows:

PositionNorthSouth
GuardGeorgia Anderson (c)- Manchester GiantsShanice Beckford-Norton- London Lions
GuardGeorgia Gayle- Sheffield HattersSam Ashby- Leicester Riders
ForwardHarriet Ittewill-Soulsby- Durham PalatinatesAllison Day- Oaklands Wolves
ForwardEmma Eichmeyer- Sheffield HattersTemi Fagbenle- London Lions
CentreKirsty Brown– Caledonia GladiatorsMegan Gustafson- London Lions
ReserveLakan James- Caledonia GladiatorsMcKenzie Johnston- Leicester Riders
ReserveMadison Washington- Sheffield HattersHaylee Saurette- Cardiff Met Archers
ReserveMyah Pace- Manchester GiantsMari Stewart- Nottingham Wildcats
ReserveAriadna Pujol- Caledonia GladiatorsCaterrion Thompson- Oaklands Wolves
ReserveJanika Griffith Wallace- Durham PalatinatesKat Tudor- Essex Rebels
Savannah Wilkinson- London Lions

You can get tickets to see your Riders at the All-Star game here!

Report: Riders cruise to victory in Manchester

Leicester Riders won their fifth game on the bounce with a road victory against Manchester Giants. 

In her third straight 20 point outing, Taylor O’Brien led the team with 25 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes. 

Rayven Peeples continued her dominance on the glass, which has spanned all season, with a monster 15 points and 17 rebounds on the game. 

The Riders led from the opening quarter, and controlled the game throughout. Led by Peeples, they outrebounded the Giants 62-28 in the game. 

Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus led the Giants with 20 in the host’s defeat. Manchester shot well from three, hitting 40% of their attempts, but couldn’t keep Leicester off the glass throughout. 

The Riders endured a slow start, falling in a 5-0 hole before O’Brien’s three from the top of the arc took the lid off the basket for the visitors. Marsissa Hamilton, following a 5/5 night from three on Friday, followed her up with a triple of her own, giving the Riders the lead in a quick swing. 

The threes settled the Riders down, and they took control of the first quarter. They established the paint, led by six points from Rayven Peeples, and led the first 26-17 after a relentless attack of the rim throughout the period. 

O’Brien took over the start to the second with 5 quick points, making her points tally 12 with seven minutes left in the half. Young star Erin Powell also put five on the board to bring her total to seven, and Leicester extended their lead. 

O’Brien’s hot first half meant the Riders won the second period 23-15. Peeples bossed the boards with 10 rebounds at the half, contributing to 10 offensive rebounds for the team as they owned the inside. The score was 49-32 at halftime- the Riders in control. 

Sam Ashby got the second half underway with a three to set the tone in the third quarter. The sides exchanged buckets, but the Riders held their opponents 20 points away. 

The Giants did chip into their deficit with four minutes left in the third, as Idil Turk hit back-to-back from deep to make it a 14 point difference. But Peeples got work out of the resulting timeout, making a tough bucket at the rim in response. 

They went 8-0 started by Peeple’s bucket, before the quarter was ended by another Turk three to make it 70-51. 

Boasting a big lead, the Riders saw the game out professionally. Ashby, Peeples and O’Brien shouldered the scoring load, and Leicester won the fourth 22-16 to improve their record to 11-2. 

Report: Riders dominate the Eagles for fourth straight win

Leicester Riders won their second straight against Newcastle Eagles, and fourth straight in the Championship, dominating wire-to-wire to emerge 90-75 victors. 

Star guard Taylor O’Brien set the tone with her scoring early, and stayed hot throughout to go off for 29 points and 11 rebounds. She led the Riders scoring for the second straight game, matching up well against the Eagles. 

She was backed by Sam Ashby and Marissa Hamilton, who both put up 15 points. Hamilton went 5-5 from three in the game, torching the Eagles from deep. 

The Riders shot 50% from the field and 45% from three in an efficient scoring display.

They also won the rebounding battle 48-42, as Rayven Peeples dominated the glass to grab 16 rebounds on the game. 

Newcastle struggled from deep throughout, shooting 15% from three against the Riders’ stifling perimeter defence. Leading scorer Tierra Hodges put up 23 points, but it wasn’t enough to lead her team to a win. 

O’Brien started the game aggressively. She scored the Riders first two buckets to take the lead, stringing a pull up from midrange and a floater off the dribble. The American guard led the game in the quarter, which Leicester led throughout. 

They were up by as much as seven, but the Eagles stayed in the game with the score 23-19 at the buzzer. A rainbow floater from Newcastle’s Lauren Saiki concluded the quarter’s action.

Back-to-back threes from Hamilton blew the game open, putting Leicester up nine in the second. The Riders held the visitors at arm’s length at the half, riding the hot hand of Peeples who followed up her frontcourt teammate with drives to the rim in the pick and roll. 

With 2:25 left in the quarter, O’Brien’s three gave the hosts their biggest lead of the evening at 38-26. Her corner three brought the Riders’ lead, and her points total, to double digits. The Eagles responded with a 5-0 run, and the sides entered the locker rooms with the Riders up 40-33. 

Triples from Hamilton and newly named All-Star Ashby rebuilt Leicester’s lead to start the second half. Ashby then attacked the hoop, followed by O’Brien, to make the score 56-37 halfway through the third. 

Hamilton’s hot hand continued to punish the Eagles. She drained her fourth triple to make it a 20 point difference. It was a lead they took into the fourth, after finished the third with a three from the top of the arc to make it 74-50. 

The final period was a formality, with the Riders having done the groundwork in the third quarter to set up a comfortable finish. Athena Thompson got to the hoop late, the 15 year old scoring her first points in the Women’s British Basketball League. She finished up with 6 points in the final quarter. 

The Riders are back in action on March 2, hosting the Oaklands Wolves.

Get tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-riders-womens-v-oaklands-wolves-2nd-march-tickets-801096911427?aff=oddtdtcreator 

Sam Ashby named to 2024 British Basketball All-Star Team

Leicester Riders guard Sam Ashby has been voted a 2024 British Basketball League All-Star starter. 

She will suit up for the South, alongside Oaklands Wolves’ Allison Day and London Lions’ trio Shanice Beckford-Norton, Temi Fagbenle and Megan Gustafson at the Copper Box Arena on March 24. 

Ashby was the highest-voted player in the guard position in the South. January’s Player of the Month is logging 13.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in her first season in professional basketball. 

Ashby commented: “I’m super excited to be selected for the All-Star game! Having the opportunity to play alongside the best players in the League, and under Head Coach Stella Kaltisdou, will be an amazing experience.”

The full starting fives for the All-Star game are as follows.

PositionNorthSouth
GuardGeorgia Anderson (c)- Manchester GiantsShanice Beckford-Norton- London Lions
GuardGeorgia Gayle- Sheffield HattersSam Ashby- Leicester Riders
ForwardHarriet Ittewill-Soulsby- Durham PalatinatesAllison Day- Oaklands Wolves
ForwardEmma Eichmeyer- Sheffield HattersTemi Fagbenle- London Lions
CenterKirsty BrownCaledonia GladiatorsMegan Gustafson- London Lions

The remainder of the team will be chosen by the two head coaches, B. Braun Sheffield Hatters Head Coach Vanessa Ellis for the North and London Lions Head Coach, Stella Kaltisdou for the South. 

The reserves will be revealed on February 29.

Get your tickets to the game here!

Championship Preview: Riders vs Eagles

Leicester Riders play the Newcastle Eagles for the second of back-to-back games against their North Eastern opponents. 

They will host the Eagles at the Mattioli Arena, Leicester, as the club looks to pack the house.

Here’s how the game is shaping up…

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders vs Newcastle Eagles 

Mattioli Arena, Leicester, 7 pm

Get tickets here! 

Last time out

Last week saw the Riders head to Newcastle to face tomorrow’s opponents, coming away with a 77-55 win. 

Contrary to the scoreline, the game was contested until late. It was a four-point game going into the final quarter, before the Riders won the fourth 30-14 to blow the game open and take home the win. 

Star guard Taylor O’Brien led the team with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, proving the difference in the final quarter with 10 points. 

The Riders’ defence won the day, however, forcing 24 turnovers out of their opponents and holding them to 36% shooting from the field. 

Season so far

The Riders have established themselves as one of the premier teams in the League once again this season. They sit third with a 9-2 record, their two losses coming to the undefeated London Lions, who they are one win behind in the standings. 

They bounced back from a loss to London with three straight wins, beating the Cardiff Met Archers, Durham Palatinates and the Eagles convincingly. 

The Riders have made their trade on the offensive glass this season, leading the League with 14.1 per game. They only grabbed nine last time out against the Eagles, so expect the boards to be a point of emphasis in this one. 

One to watch

Despite her team’s loss, Tierra Hodges led the game with 20 points and 9 rebounds for the Eagles. 

Newcastle’s December signing exploded onto the scene in Newcastle, leading the League in scoring through six games. 

The 5’9” wing is scoring 22.1 points per game, awent off for 30 points on her debut and has failed to score 20 points in just one game for the Eagles. 

Hodges signed in the North East after an outstanding collegiate career at Furman University and an excellent rookie campaign last season in Finland.

In her final college season, she was named first-team all-conference by coaches and media, led the Southern Conference in rebounding with 10.4 per game and ranked third in scoring with 16.2 per game

Championship Preview: Riders at Eagles

The Riders return to action after a winning weekend of action, facing the Newcastle Eagles on the road. 

The 8-2 Riders are coming off back-to-back wins, ready to play an Eagles team that has endured a difficult start to the season. 

Here’s how the teams shape up…

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders at Newcastle Eagles

Saturday, February 17, 7:30 pm

Vertu Motors Arena 

Watch Live!

Two-win weekend 

The Riders are coming off an impressive weekend of wins, beating the Cardiff Met Archers and Durham Palatinates in back-to-back days. 

They won by an average margin of 37 points, making a statement with dominant victories. They won every quarter of the weekend and maintained their pursuit of the top end of the table. 

Rayven Peeples dominated the weekend on the glass, notching two double-doubles on her way to a Team of the Week nomination. She averaged 16 points and 13 rebounds across the two games. 

The Riders, led by Peeples, have set the tone on the glass on their way to eight wins this season. They rank second in rebounding (0.1 rebounds per game behind the top-ranked London Lions) and first in offensive rebounding. 

Playing against an Eagles team who have struggled to pull down boards this season, will play a large factor in the North East. 

Newcastle looking for form 

Having lost the last three Championship fixtures, the Newcastle Eagles are looking for a win to turn their season around. 

Losses to Oaklands Wolves, Essex Rebels and London Lions are responsible for the poor run of fixtures. They enter this game after a loss against the League-leading Lions, who won 102-56 at home. 

They pulled off back-to-back wins against Durham and Cardiff in mid-December, but failed to build off their form to make a rise up the table. 

They have struggled on the boards this season, ranking second-last in offensive rebounds and third-last in defensive rebounds as the Eagles struggle to generate second possession and close defensive ones.

They’ll need to improve in this department to overcome the glass-crashing Leicester Riders. 

Key matchup 

Eagles’ December signing Tierra Hodges has exploded onto the scene in Newcastle, leading the League in scoring through five games. 

The 5’9” wing is scoring 23.2 points per game, went off for 30 points on her debut and has failed to score 20 points in just one game for the Eagles. 

Hodges signed in the North East after an outstanding collegiate career at Furman University and an excellent rookie campaign last season in Finland.

In her final college season, she was named first-team all-conference by coaches and media, led the Southern Conference in rebounding with 10.4 per game and ranked third in scoring with 16.2 per game 

The American’s performances in the British Basketball League earned her the Player of the Month award for December. 

Facing up against her is another Player of the Month, Sam Ashby, who won the award for her efforts in January. 

Ashby balled out against Durham last week, leading the game’s scoring with 21 points, and logged 6 rebounds and 5 steals in the win.

Ashby’s performances this season earned her a spot on the GB roster earlier in the year. She’s averaging 12.9 points per game and ranks fourth in the League in steals with 2.4 per game. 

Expect this battle from the wing position to play a significant role in the outcome of this clash.  

Riders make it back-to-back wins with a blowout against Durham

The Riders made it back-to-back wins in a weekend of action, beating the Durham Palatinates 85-57 to improve their record to 8-2. 

Sam Ashby dominated wire-to-wire, the GB guard logging a game-high 21 points and 6 rebounds after hitting the ground running with 12 in the first. Rayven Peeples scored 14 to back up her teammate, grabbing 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the weekend. 

Leicester shot well from deep in the game, hitting 40% of their threes to blow the game open. On the defensive end, they held Durham to 2-18 shooting from behind the arc in a dominant defensive outing. 

Their standout was Elle Hendershot, who matched Ashby’s 21 points in her team’s effort. But the Palatinates struggled to match the Riders’ play on both ends throughout, and the hosts secured their second big win in as many days. 

Ashby’s defence made a huge impact in the opening stages of the game. She blocked Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby inside to force a 24-second violation and took a charge on Hendershot for two score-saving plays. On the other end, scored five quick points as the Riders charged out the gate for a 10-4 start. 

Durham established the interior to come back into it, led by Hendershot’s 7 points in the first quarter. But Ashby hit back with seven more points to rebuild Leicester’s lead to eight, finishing the first quarter at the free-throw line to make the score 22-14.  

Hot deep shooting meant the Riders maintained their lead in the second, as Marissa Hamilton and Katie Janszewska both hit triples. Taylor O’Brien followed up with seven straight points, and the Riders built their advantage to 39-22. 

The Riders shot 57% from three at the half, while the Palatinates missed each of their seven attempts. That made it 44-29 to the hosts by the break. 

A 6-2 start to the second half made it 50-31 within two minutes. Ashby built on her game tally with seven more points, including a three to put Leicester up 20. Peeples got to work inside with aggressive play around the rim. She scored 7 points in six minutes, capped off by an and-one play. 

To end the third, Katie Januszewska found the bottom of the basket on back-to-back plays to bring her game total to double digits. Leicester won the third 25-15 to make the score 69-44 with one to play. 

Elise Tweeide scored two straight baskets at the rim to get the Riders going in the final quarter of play. Leicester continued to be effective in their runs to the rim, seeing the game out by adding to their side of the scoreboard. 

They finished the game with a 16-13 fourth quarter, meaning they won every quarter of their two-game weekend.

The Riders are back in action on Febuary 17, heading to the North East to take on the Newcastle Eagles. 

Report: Riders secure big home win against Archers

The Riders took a dominant win against Cardiff Met Archers to improve to 7-2 in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship standings. 

It was an impressive win start-to-finish, as Leicester won the opening quarter 22-7 and never looked back. 

American forward Rayven Peeples set the tone in the paint, leading the game with an 18 point, 13 rebound double-double.

She was backed by Katie Januszewska, who had 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench in 19 minutes. 

The Riders established the inside quickly, getting two offensive boards, a block and a finish at the rim in the opening minute. Peeples was instrumental in their physical approach, swatting Lara Habling’s shot and putting in a pair of layups within three minutes to make it a dominant 10-1 start. 

She finished the first with 6 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks, as the Riders got all five started on the board in the opening period. Despite shooting 0-8 from three, their dominance in the paint meant Leicester led 22-7 after Januszewska’s mid-range pull up to end it. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates knocked down the Riders’ first triple of the game to start the second quarter. She hit another with 5:41 left in the half to bring the team’s game tally to 30, and their lead to 22. 

With the lid off the basket from deep, Marissa Hamilton stepped into a triple to continue to pile on the points. On defence, Leicester locked off the interior, forcing the Archers to try their luck from three. They went 1-11 from range in the first half and 8-32 from the field. 

Emihear Morris joined the action from deep with a corner three to get the home bench off its feet. The Riders led 46-18 going into the break- a convincing first half of play. 

Peeples got the second half going with six quick points, as the Riders showed no let-up. She dominated the start to the third quarter with 8 points, 6 rebounds and a steal in five minutes of action. 

Januszewska caught fire in the middle of the quarter. She scored eight straight points, including two threes to stretch Leicester’s significant lead. Morris followed up with her second triple, and the Riders entered the final stanza up 65-29. 

Leicester started the fourth 6-2 to make it a 40-point advantage for the hosts. The quarter was led by 5 points from Eadsforth-Yates, as the Riders saw it home comfortably by winning the final quarter 21-11. 

The Riders are back in action tomorrow, hosting Durham Palatinates.

Get your tickets here!

Leicester Riders Weekend Preview

The Riders are set to take on a weekend of Women’s British Basketball League action, going up against the Cardiff Met Archers and Durham Palatinates in back-to-back home games. 

Here’s a look at the Riders season so far… 

The state of play

Leicester are currently third in the Championship standings with a 6-2 record. Their only two losses have come to the undefeated London Lions, which came after they hit the ground running under new Head Coach Ben Stanley’s leadership following a 4-0 start. 

The Riders enter the games off the back of a tough loss to the table-topping London Lions. The Lions beat the Riders 43-85 to remain undefeated on the season.  

Katie Januszewska provided a bright spark off the bench for Leicester with 11 points in 19 minutes, going 5-7 from the field, but the Riders couldn’t get it going offensively, especially from deep where they went 3-22. 

Former WNBA guard Temi Fagbenle went off for London in the visitor’s win, scoring 22 points in as many minutes. 

Crashing the glass

The Riders have made their name on the boards this season, pulling down 43.4 rebounds per game, the second most in the League. 

This applies especially on the offensive side of the ball. Leicester crashes the glass of their own missed shots wire to wire, and their 14.5 offensive boards per game rank the highest of any team. 

Rayven Peeples has particularly impressed in that department. She has averaged 10.3 rebounds per game, the third most of any player in the League. She leads the League in offensive rebounds with 5.8, generating consistent second-chance opportunities for the Riders. 

They’ll look to continue that trend this weekend against the two teams that grab the fewest defensive rebounds in the League this season. 

Weekend opponents 

The Riders will take on the Cardiff Met Archers and Durham Palatinates this weekend, two teams they have had success against already this season. 

Leicester took on the Archers in November, beating them 110-64 in South Wales. Their leading scorer on the season, Taylor O’Brien, put up 26 points and 6 rebounds in the win, where the Riders shot 52.4% from the field and 37.5% from three. 

The Archers currently sit bottom of the League table, going winless through eight games. As for the Palatinates, they’re currently ninth in the table with a 2-5 record. 

The Riders took them on in late January, once again going on the road and taking home the win. This time, it was a 75-62 victory, led by 15 each from GB wing Sam Ashby and Peeples. 

Leicester will need to replicate their wins from earlier in the season to continue their pursuit of the top end of the table. 

Support the team

Tickets are available for both of these fixtures, which will be played at the Loughborough University Netball Centre. 

We face Cardiff Met Archers on Saturday at 6pm, and Durham Palatinates on Sunday at 1 pm. 

Get your tickets here!

Report: Riders fall short of a comeback against Rebels

The Riders fell out of the Women’s British Basketball League Trophy, losing to the Essex Rebels 84-70 on the road. 

Leicester fell into a 17-point hole early after a slow start, and were down 23 to start the final quarter. 

They came storming back into it, cutting the deficit to six with 3:39 left after a three-point explosion from Taylor O’Brien. But it was too little, too late, and the Rebels knocked down late free throws to progress to the semi-final. 

Sam Ashby led the Riders’ scoring with 21 points after putting up 14 in the first half, backed by Mckenzie Johnston’s 18 and O’Brien’s 15. O’Brien hit five threes in the fourth quarter to spark the comeback. 

Katherine Tudor’s monster third quarter meant she led the game with 24 points. The Rebels cooked from deep, shooting 50% from three on the game. 

Ashby got straight to work for Leicester from the tip, attacking the hoop on the team’s first three possessions for a return of four points. Ashby scored the Riders’ first six, getting to the line with 7:24 left to tie the game. 

Despite the GB international’s play, it was Essex who took the early initiative. Rebel’s star guard Katherine Tudor drained the team’s second three of the game to make it 14-6. 

It was quickly 19-8 with 4:15 left in the first, forcing Head Coach Ben Stanley to call his first timeout. But the Riders had no answer for the Rebels’ physically inside throughout the first. Their opponents scored 20 points in the paint and led 31-14 after one.

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates got the second quarter going for Leicester with a triple from the top of the arc. Ashby followed up from the same spot before nailing another on the next play as the Riders began to chip into the deficit. 

But Essex hit back, and burst back out to a 20 point lead. Megan Haines’ three for her 11th points capped off an 8-0 run with 4:49 remaining in the half. 

It was Leicester’s captain, Johnston, who led the charge going into the break. She scored eight in the second quarter, and cut it to a 13-point game after Katie Januszewska blocked Claire Paxton’s three-point attempt. 

The final score of the half was Essex’s Dayzsha Rogan pulling up from midrange, and the sides entered the locker rooms with the hosts up 48-33. 

Johnston got right back to it in the third, pulling up in the lane to make the first basket of the second half. But a red-hot Rebels team kept gunning from deep, Tudor hitting three triples in as many minutes. 

Another three from Tudor with 3:42 left in the third rebuilt their advantage to 20. Johnston kept battling, scoring another eight points to bring her game tally to 16, but turnovers cost the Riders throughout the quarter, keeping the Rebels out of reach. 

Rogan finished the quarter at the foul line, making it 71-48. 

The Riders battled back in the final quarter, Taylor O’Brien connecting from deep to cut the deficit to 15. She fired again with 6”30 remaining, making the score 72-59. 

O’Brien caught fire, knocking down her third triple of the period with 4:40 left in the game to bring the score to 75-65. Johnston then drove to the hole and made it a single-digit affair for the first time since the first quarter. 

O’Brien pulled up from deep again and cut it to six, forcing an Essex timeout with 3:39 remaining. 

But the timeout stalled the Riders offence, and the Rebels had enough to hang on in the closing stages by making their free-throws. 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers on Febuary 10!

Trophy Preview: Riders at Rebels

The Riders return from their winter break to tip off their Women’s British Basketball League Betty Codona Trophy campaign on the road against the Essex Rebels. 

They enter the competition at the quarter-final stage- last year’s finalists received a BYE for the first round of the competition. 

Here’s how the teams shape up…

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Essex Rebels

Essex Sports Arena

Saturday, January 13, 4 pm

Back after the break

The Riders last played on December 9, and are now set to take on the same opponents in the same building. 

They concluded their pre-winter campaign with a 79-70 win on the road to Essex, led by 20 points from star guard Taylor O’Brien. 

The Riders are one of two teams with a single loss in the Championship this season, their only defeat coming on the road to the undefeated London Lions. They’re 5-1, with the second-best points production in the League. 

Tay leading the way

O’Brien has hit the ground running in Riders red, leading the team in scoring on the season. She’s scoring 19.7 points per game, the second-highest scorer in the League through six games, getting her points on 46.4% shooting from the field. 

Her efforts in November saw her named Women’s British Basketball League Player of the Month, averaging 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 61.7% shooting from the field. 

The American guard signed from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She has established herself as one of the stars of British basketball and will look to lead the team to the Trophy final this year. 


Want to see Taylor in the British Basketball League All-Star game?

Vote here!


Battle in the backcourt

Facing off against O’Brien is fellow American Katherine Tudor, who went off for a game-high 23 points last time out against Leicester. 

Tudor signed in Essex in the offseason and leads the team’s scoring with 18.3 points per game. 

The 25-year-old signed from Australian NBL1 West side Mandura Magic, where she averaged 15.6 points per game last season across 22 NBL games, the second-highest points average amongst the team.

Her best scoring performance of the season came against the Riders, and the ever-consistent scoring threat will look to match O’Brien in this one. 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers on February 10!

Riders sign Thompson!

Leicester Riders are thrilled to sign Athena Thompson to their 2023/24 Women’s British Basketball League roster. 

Thompson, an exciting 15-year-old youth prospect, plays for Milton Keynes Breakers in the WNBL Under 16s. 

She has experience suiting up for GB under 18s, and competed for the under 16s at the FIBA European Youth Championships this summer, alongside Riders forward Katie Januszewska who played for the u20s, leading the team in scoring with 14 points per game. 

Thompson has been a valuable participant in Riders’ practices throughout the season. The club, in collaboration with the Breakers, have decided that signing to the first team roster will be a positive step in her development going forward. 

Thompson will continue to play for her current side, Milton Keynes Breakers, while signed to the Riders. 

“We’re really happy to be able to announce Athena joining us,”  commented Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She’s been a huge impact player in her age group with some big games already this year, and she has really come into her own in recent practices. We’re excited to help her develop and to see her on the court with us.” 

Thompson added: “Joining Leicester Riders has been a great opportunity for me, and I’ve been able to develop my knowledge around more experienced players. It’s allowed me to compete at a high level, and I’m grateful for this opportunity going forward.”

Josh Merrington, General Manager of Milton Keynes Breakers, added: “We’re grateful to the Leicester Riders for providing Athena the opportunity to play high-level basketball with their Women’s British Basketball League team. Athena has been dominating her own age group for a while, so playing at a higher level will really aid her development.”


Want to see Thompson in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers on Febuary 10!

British Basketball League to introduce first-ever Hall of Fame to honour outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the League

First inductees to be named at British Basketball League’s prestigious All-Star Game in March.

The British Basketball League are excited to announce the launch of the League’s first-ever Hall of Fame, which will honour and recognise individuals from all eras of the Men’s and Women’s Leagues who have made a significant contribution to the sport in the UK. 

The first inductees into the Hall of Fame are set to be announced alongside the return of the highly anticipated All-Star Game which takes place at London’s Copper Box Arena on Sunday March 17 2024. 

Five individuals will be inducted into the Hall of Fame from the following five categories, in line with similar organisations across world basketball:

  • Men’s Players
  • Women’s Players
  • Coaches
  • Officials (Referees, Table Officials, Statisticians)
  • Services to the League (i.e. volunteers, photographers, videographers, team managers, general managers, members of the community etc.)

Inductees will be selected and nominated by a selection committee consisting of Club-elected Directors, alongside a representative from the League Office and two invited members of the media.

Each member of the selection committee would be entitled to three nominations per category. The selection committee will then meet to discuss the nominations as a group and finalise the inductees for the upcoming class.

For the first class of inductees, which will be announced in March 2024, one nomination in each category will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, meaning five total inductees.

Future classes would see five new inductees into the Hall, but these would simply be the five nominations most worthy of induction in the eyes of the selection committee.

The League’s Hall of Fame will initially take pride of place on the League website, and as the League continues to grow over the coming years, plans are in place to have a physical Hall of Fame space at the League office in addition to online. 

Speaking on the launch of British Basketball League’s Hall of Fame, Chief Executive Officer Aaron Radin said:

“We’re proud to launch the British Basketball League Hall of Fame, which will enable us to honour and give recognition to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the League and the growth of the sport. 

“So many people have played a significant role in growing British basketball throughout the years, so it’s great to have a permanent feature for us to continually celebrate new members each year. 

“We’re excited to see the first generation of inductees announced at this season’s All-Star Game on 17 March in London. This addition to the weekend will add to what is already set to be a special occasion to showcase and celebrate the talent in the Men’s and Women’s Leagues.”

To buy tickets to the British Basketball League’s All-Star Game and for more information visit https://www.britishbasketballleague.com/2024allstars/ 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Bristol Flyers!

Report: Riders win a battle in Essex

The Riders improved to 5-1 after defeating the Essex Rebels 79-70 in a hard-fought road encounter. 

Rayven Peeples dominated late, scoring seven in the final quarter on her way to 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Taylor O’Brien led the Riders with 19 points and 5 rebounds, after being named Women’s British Basketball League Player of the Month earlier in the day. 

Leicester were forced to fight for the win, never leading by double digits in the game. They found form late on to seal it after leading all through the second half.

Star guard Kat Tudor led the game with 23 points and 9 rebounds, catching fire from deep to shoot 5-9. The Rebels hit big shots to keep within striking distance, but couldn’t overcome Rayven’s power in the paint. 

On the road against an in-form Rebels outfit, the Riders exchanged buckets with Essex early. Scottish forward Claire Paxton scored five quick points for the Rebels, matched by GB international Sam Ashby for the visitors through the opening five minutes. 

For her seventh points, Ashby’s quick cut to the basket was found by Taylor O’Brien’s handoff for the highlight of the first quarter. Leicester found success by attacking the hoop off the ball throughout. 

After seven first-quarter lead changes, the Riders led 21-19 following Dayzsha Rogan’s blown breakaway layup to end it. 

Missed open threes were the story of the second for the Riders. The team got good looks from deep but only connected on one of their six open attempts as the Rebels remained in the game. 

O’Brien took the reigns as the clock ticked down to the half. She scored seven in the quarter to bring her game tally to a team-high 12. 

With little between the sides, Shahid Abboud caught fire for five quick points to give the Riders their biggest lead of the game at 42-35. She knocked down a three, then drove into the teeth of the Rebels’ defence and sank a floater in the lane. 

Essex hit back to close the half at the hands of their leading scorer on the season Kat Tudor, before Paxton hit two free throws to make it 42-39 in Leicester’s favour going into the locker rooms. 

Rayven Peeples took over the scoring load to behind the second half, as the Riders played from in front. She scored six straight points in three minutes, concluded by a tough finish through contact. 

With the three ball still not dropping, the Riders found ways to consistently get to the bucket and keep the scoreboard ticking over. But once again, the Rebels found form late in the quarter to bring it back to a possession with four straight points. 

Peepes continued to impress in the fourth, driving to her right and finishing through a foul for an and-one play. O’Brien followed up her teammate with a three to extend the Riders’ lead to six. 

Peeples extended the lead to nine with five minutes remaining in the game with eight of the Riders’ first 10 points in the final quarter of action. The American rookie put Leicester in good stead to see the game out. 

Tudor found a response for the Rebels with their first triple of the fourth, and her game-high 23rd points of the afternoon. 

But the Riders had enough to get over the line, as Peeples continued to battle down low with no answer defensively from Essex. 

Mckenzie Johnston’s layup inside was the dagger, sealing Leicester their fifth win of the season. 

The Riders can now enjoy a winter break, returning to action on Febuary 10th to take on the Cardiff Met Archers at home.

Get tickets here!

Taylor O’Brien named Women’s British Basketball League Player of the Month

Leicester Riders guard Taylor O’Brien has been voted as the Women’s British Basketball League Player of the Month for her performances throughout November. 

The American rookie averaged 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 61.7% shooting from the field, going 2-0 over the two games in the month of action. 

Her highest-scoring performance came against the Cardiff Met Archers on November 18, where she put up 26 points and six rebounds in the Riders’ resounding win. 

Preview: Riders at Rebels

Leicester Riders look to bounce back after their first defeat of the season, as they head to the South East to face the Essex Rebels. 

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders @ Essex Rebels

Essex Sports Arena

Saturday, December 9, 4pm

Falling in the capital 

The Riders fell for the first time in the 2023/24 Women’s British Basketball League season, taking a 77-61 defeat to the back-to-back quadruple-winning London Lions. 

The Riders played the Lions the toughest of all of their opponents early in the season in a spirited performance, but London’s firepower proved too much for Leicester from the offset. 

Rayven Peeples put in an impressive performance in the capital for the Riders, leading the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Peeples grabbed seven boards on the offensive glass to buy the Riders second chances throughout. 

She ranks third in the League in rebounds per game, putting herself among Britain’s best on the boards. 

It’s been a successful start to the season for the Riders through five games, as they’ve put themselves in the mix at the top of the table with a 4-1 record. Led by Peeples, they rank top of the offensive rebounding and blocks per game charts, their force in the interior leading to four straight wins to start the season. 

They’ll want to get straight back to winning ways against Essex to maintain the momentum built from the opening tip-off. 

Rebels looking competitive

 10-12 record left the Rebels sixth in the standings last season, facing the Riders in the first round of the playoffs. They fell in a close one, the Riders edging the tie 83-80 in an overtime thriller, with Essex coming close to an upset win. 

They’ve seen a plethora of players join the team in the offseason, most notably American guard Kat Tudor who leads the Rebels’ scoring on the season with 20.3 points per game. 

The roster changes have led them to a .500 start to the season, sitting with a 2-2 record through four games. Their losses this season have come at the hands of the undefeated London Lions and Caledonia Gladiators in a tough schedule to strat the season. 

Last time out, they played the Gladiators tough in a 69-61 road defeat. It was a five-point game with under a minute remaining, with the hosts finding enough late to get over the line, but the Rebels showed they can compete with the elite teams in the league on any given night. 

They’ll need the same level of play in this one to avoid falling below .500. 

Key matchup 

A battle between Americans in the backcourt awaits in this one, as two of the top four scorers in the Women’s British Basketball League go face to face in Essex.

For Essex, Kat Tudor has hit the ground running to lead the Rebels early in the season. The California native signed from  Australian NBL1 West side Mandura Magic, where she averaged 15.6 points per game last season, ranking second on her team. 

Tudor’s four-year college career at Oregon State University saw her put up 8.6 points and 3.0 rebounds, shooting at over 40% from three. She finished third in program history in career 3-pointers and fourth in career 3-point percentage. 

The 25-year-old’s elite three-point shooting has carried over to the South East. Tudor his hitting her triples at a 45.9% rate, the best of anyone who has taken over 20. 

Faced with the task of slowing her down is Taylor O’Brien, who has had a similarly impressive start to her first season in British Basketball. 

She leads the Riders with 19.6 points per game, putting up 20 points on three occasions through five games. 

O’Brien signed from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison. 

O’Brien also owns Bucknell’s record in the outdoor high jump and was named to the second Team All-Patriot League with a runner-up finish in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

She’ll look to counteract Tudor’s shooting with her speed and athleticism in this battle in the backcourt. 

Championship Preview: Riders at Lions

The Women’s British Basketball League will lose one of its three undefeated records this weekend as the 4-0 Leicester Riders head to the capital to take on the 3-0 London Lions. 

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders at London Lions 

Copper Box Arena, London 

Sunday, December 2, 6 PM

Off the back of a battle

The Riders remain undefeated and top of the Women’s British Basketball League Championship table, but it took overtime for them to keep the loss column vacant against the Nottingham Wildcats. 

The Riders fell down early and struggled to get into a rhythm throughout but came back from down double digits to take control of the game late. The hosts looked like they’d done enough to win it in regulation and would have if not for a three from Mari Stewart, which tied it up. 

GB international Sam Ashby stepped up in overtime with two clutch threes, taking the win and improving the team to 4-0. 

The Riders have hung their hat on their offensive firepower thus far this season, scoring 94.3 points per game- the second most in the League. 

Taylor O’Brien leads the team’s scoring with 21.3 points per game, ranking third among all players in the League. The American guard put up 22 points against Nottingham, her second straight 20+ point performance. 

They’ll need every ounce of that offence in this one to overcome the Lions. 

The team to beat

Last season’s quadruple winners have picked up where they left off last season after they won the Women’s British Basketball League Championship with a dominant 21-1 record. 

They’re 3-0 to start the season, winning by an average of 42 points- blowing away anyone in their path. They’re the only side with a higher-scoring offence than the Riders, scoring 103.7 points per game and shooting a red-hot 52% from the field and 44.3% from three.

The Riders met the Lions in all three domestic finals last year, the Lions coming away victors on each of the occasions. The Riders came closest in the Trophy final, bringing it to a five point game midway through the fourth, but fell 11 points short by the final buzzer. 

Karlie Samuelson leads the team on the season with 22.5 points per outing. The former WNBA player, with experience playing for the LA Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm and Dallas Wings, has two Spanish National League Championships to her name, and is showcasing her elite quality on British soil. 

The Riders will have their work cut out defensively to slow down Samuelson and the Lions. 

Key matchup 

In the absence of Mckenzie Johnston through injury, British guard Jessica Eadsforth-Yates stepped up into the starting five to run the point against the Nottingham Wildcats. 

She pulled the strings effectively, logging 13 points, six assists and six rebounds in the overtime win. The performance marked three straight games where Eadsforth-Yates amassed double-digit points, making an effective contribution to the high-firing Riders offence. 

Eadsforth-Yates arrived at the Riders at the age of 16 for Charnwood college and suited up for the Loughborough Riders a year later in the WNBL D1. Following two seasons in the NCAA DII with Davis & Elkins, she returned to her home country to sign with the Newcastle Eagles as a rookie then the Riders a year later. 

She’ll go face-to-face with fellow Brit Shanice Beckford-Norton, who is putting up 11 points per game on the season so far in her fourth season in London. 

Beckford-Norton is a GB international who most recently represented her country alongside Sam Ashby in the Eurobasket qualifiers. She spent her college career at the prestigious LSU in the NCAA D1, before playing her rookie season in Germany for Heidelberg. 

In 2020, the Londoner returned home by signing with the Lions – averaging just over 14 points in her first WBBL season. 

Eadsforth-Yates is faced with the stern task of matching up with Beckford-Norton in the place of Johnston in a face-off that will go a long way in determining the outcome of the tie. 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers!

Riders duo named to Team of the Week!

For the second week running, Leicester Riders have two players named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week! 

Following the Riders’ overtime victory against the Nottingham Wildcats, Sam Ashby and Taylor O’Brien were recognised for their performances. 

Taylor O’Brien makes the team two weeks in a row following her stat-sheet-stuffing outing against Nottingham. She put up 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks, impacting every aspect of the game. 

Player of the Game Sam Ashby backed her teammate with 18 points,10 rebounds, seven steals and four assists, the GB international logging her first double-double of the season. 

The Riders return to action on Sunday, hitting the road to take on the undefeated London Lions. 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Cardiff Met Archers!

Report: Riders beat Wildcats in overtime

The Riders improved to 4-0 in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship, taking an 83-75 overtime home win against the Nottingham Wildcats. 

Taylor O’Brien led the team with her second straight 20-point performance, leading the game with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. She was backed by an 18-point double-double from Sam Ashby, who grabbed 10 rebounds in a red-hot overtime performance. 

The so-far winless Wildcats put up a heroic fight against the table-topping Riders, pushing them all the way after a hot start. 22 from Jessica Wayne led the team, as the visitors shot 44% from three to come close to an upset win. 

Starting off 6-0, Nottingham took an early surprise lead led by seven from 6’3” center Brooke Bjelko. The Riders shot 27% from the field in the first but trailed only by a possession after Elise Tweeidie’s free throw to end the quarter. 

The visitors stretched their lead in the second, making it double-digits thanks to a layup inside from American Wayne. Leicester’s two for 13 shooting from deep dug their first half hole, but Taylor O’Brien found form to end the second quarter to keep the hosts in touch. 

O’Brien had four points and a steal in the final two minutes to bring her game tally to nine, and making the score 28-39 going into the locker rooms. 

She continued her dominance in the third, scoring 11 in the quarter as the Riders attempted to chip into the deficit. Driving inside, her and-one play cut it to a four-point game with two minutes left. 

Charnwood graduate Katie Januszewska got on the scoreboard to follow up her teammates, scoring five quick points and snatching the lead for the first time since the opening quarter. The Riders held the Wildcats to a scoreless final seven minutes of the third to lead by four with one to play. 

Shahd Abboud, upon her return from injury, led the Riders out the gate in the fourth with two quick buckets. They stamped their authority in the final period of play, building a solid foundation to see the game out from. Abboud hit a three with four minutes gone to make it an eight-point Leicester lead. 

Nottingham hit big shots throughout to keep it competitive, and cut it to a one-point game after a three from Wayne with 1:45 left to play. After a back-and-forth exchange, Mari Stewart drained another triple which tied it up with nine seconds remaining. 

Ashby couldn’t connect on the would-be game-winner, and the tie went to overtime. 

She took over the overtime period with back-to-back threes to amend for the miss, building a two-possession lead for the Riders to defend. The GB international’s second triple with 2:30 to go proved to be the final score before the fixture became a free-throw-shooting affair. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates and Ashby hit their foul shots to end the game, winning it in overtime. 

The Riders are back in action next week, hitting the road to take on last season’s quadruple-winning London Lions on Sunday.

Championship Preview: Riders vs Wildcats

Leicester Riders return home to take on the Nottingham Wildcats in their fourth game of the Women’s British Basketball League season. 

They have the chance to improve to 4-0 to start the season in the first season under new Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

Fixture information 

Leicester Riders vs Nottingham Wildcats 

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Saturday, November 25, 4:30 PM

Get tickets here!

Tickets for the following Riders men’s game against Manchester Giants are also valid for the women’s game, so come down and get behind the team! 

Three on the bounce

The first three games of the season were in little doubt late on for the Riders, who have won by a margin of 32 per game. Their latest opponent was the Cardiff Met Archers, who the Riders faced on the road in South Wales. 

Leicester came away with a dominant 110-64 win against the Archers in a game that was in little doubt throughout. Their leading scorer on the season Taylor O’Brien led the way once again with a 26 point outing. 

“I owe it all to my teammates,” said O’Brien after the win. “They’ve been able to get me easy, open shots. The way we move and pass the ball makes it easy for everybody on this team to be successful.”

That was evident against the Archers, as the Riders had six players contribute double-digit points to the explosive offensive performance. Now, they look ahead to the Wildcats, hoping to continue in their rich vein of form. 

 “We’ve got to do it again. We have to come out with energy, be strong and together, and if we do that we’ll be ok.”

Coach’s thoughts 

Head Coach Ben Stanley has enjoyed an undefeated start to his tenure at the reins of the Leicester Riders. 

With three wins under the team’s belt, Stanley looks to build in the team’s performances for the rest of the season. 

“On the defensive end of the floor it was our best performance of the season,” said Stanley. “It’s been a really weird season for trying to find a rhythm with the late start and international break, so it was a great performance from the ladies.

“We’ve got a great group of young ladies, and it’s been a pleasure to coach them. We’re still building, and trying to become more consistent in the performances we’re putting out there. Consistency and discipline are the two biggest words for us at the moment.”

Wildcats looking for first win

After a 3-19 season last year left them second bottom of the Championship standings last season, this year has started much like the last for the Wildcats. 

They are 0-4 through their opening games, shooting a League-low 21.2% from three and 40.7% from the field which results in only 68.8 points per game. 

Last time out, it was the Durham Palatinates who took an 85-72 victory against the Wildcats in Nottingham. They hung in the game deep in the fourth quarter, keeping it to within single digits with four and a half minutes remaining, but the Palatinates had enough to stretch their lead late and come away with the win. 

They’re led on the season by Mari Stewart, who went off for 24 points and eight rebounds against Durham to bring her season average to 17.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per outing. 

The second-year Wildcat is their best source of offensive production early in the year, and Nottingham will lean on her to find a way past the in-form Riders. 

Key matchup 

Backing up her teammate in the clash against Durham was American Jessica Wayne, who put up 21 points and 11 rebounds on 53% shooting in the clash. 

Wayne signed with the Wildcats from Durham this offseason, having spent her first two professional seasons with the Palatinates. In 35.2 minutes per game, she put up 14.2 points and 7.9 rebounds, making her name as one of the League’s forces around the paint from the guard spot. 

The 25-year-old is a two-way threat and established as an elite perimeter defender. Last season, she earned a spot on the WBBL All-Defensive team, ranking third in the League in steals per game with 3.1.

Matching up on the other end is captain Mckenzie Johnston, who has hit the ground running in her second season in Riders red. 

The Montana native is scoring 14.7 per game, and earned a spot on the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week in week two after she put up 19 points and nine rebounds against Oaklands Wolves. 

In a game where a hot start was important in setting the tone against the Cardiff Met Archers last time out, she was directly involved in the team’s first 15 which saw them burst out to a big lead.

Johnston has taken a step up from an impressive first season with the Riders, where her 8.3 points, 6.3 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game helped the team to three domestic finals. 

The captain will have a vital responsibility on both ends in this one, and will look to prove the difference in her matchup with Wayne.   

Riders duo named to Team of the Week!

Riders duo of Taylor O’Brien and Rayven Peeples were named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week! 

The Riders took a 110-64 road win against the Cardiff Met Archers, and the American pair showed out with a combined 45 points and 19 rebounds in the game. 

O’Brien led the way with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists, finishing with a game-high +/- of 35. 

She was backed by Peeples, who continued her league-leading dominance on the glass with 19 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 81% from the field. 

It’s Peeples’ second nod for Team of the Week, following her week one 18 point double-double performance against Manchester Giants. 

The Riders are back in action on Saturday, taking on Nottingham Wildcats at 4:30 pm at the Morningside Arena. 

Get your tickets here!

Tickets for the following Riders men’s game against Manchester Giants are also valid for the women’s game, so come down and get behind the team! 

Report: Riders beat Archers

The Riders improved to 3-0 to start the season, beating Cardiff Met Archers 110-64 on the road. 

It was a dominant performance throughout, as Leicester took a big lead early and never looked back. Taylor O’Brien’s explosive second half brought her scoring tally to 2 points and rebounds, leading the game. 

For the Archers, a second-quarter run marked their most competitive phase of the game, but they were ultimately outgunned by the Riders. They had four double-digit scorers in the game, led by , but shot just 32% from the field and 28% from three. 

The Riders, led by captain McKenzie Johnston’s 10 points in six minutes to start the game, stamped their authority on the tie from the jump. They started the game 7-12 to build a double-digit lead through their successes driving inside, going perfect from the hoop through the first. 

Cardiff found offensive form in the second, matching their first-quarter tally after five minutes. Laura Shanahan led the charge with 11 points to bring the hosts back into contention. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates hit back to snatch momentum with seven quick points. Her four-point play at the top of the arc was followed up by a corner three to rebuild the Riders’ lead in an instant. 

Leicester flexed their strength in depth with five players contributing seven points to the game by halftime, led by Johnston’s 12. Rayven Peeples made the most of her size advantage down low to close the second quarter with six points, the Riders leading 51-33 going into the locker rooms. 

Peeples finsihed with 19 points, shooting a dominant 9-11 from the field. 

The third, which has been the Riders’ quarter through the first two games of the season, saw the Riders extend their advantage. They continued their relentless attack at the rim, scoring 11 points from inside or the free-throw line with half a quarter gone. 

They entered the fourth up 31, led by O’Brien and Peeples with 15 each. 

O’Brien took the team to the finish line with 11 in the first four minutes of the final quarter to the game beyond doubt. The Riders played hard to the final buzzer, seeing it out professionally. 

The Riders return to action next Saturday, hosting Nottingham Wildcats on November 25. 

Get your tickets here!

Preview: Riders at Archers

Leicester plays their third game of the season and their second straight on the road, as they head to South Wales to take on the Cardiff Met Archers. 

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Cardiff Met Archers

Archers Arena, Cyncoed Campus

Saturday, November 18, 3:15 pm

Riders rolling to start the year

The Riders resume their season after a two-week international break, following a perfect start to their Women’s British Basketball League season. 

They’re 2-0 through their opening games after wins against the Manchester Giants on opening night and an away victory against the Oaklands Wolves. 

Both wins came in a similar fashion, with Head Coach Ben Stanley’s halftime adjustments leading to third-quarter explosions, seeing Leicester blow out their first two opponents by over 20 points.  

Led by Rayven Peeples’ 6.5 offensive rebounds per game, the Riders’ presence on the glass opens up multiple second opportunities for the team, who are knocking down shots at a 45.5% rate.

Taylor O’Brien tops the scoring charts through two games with 18.5 a game, good for top five in the League. Should the Riders continue their scoring form following the break, they’ll be in good stead to improve to 3-0. 

Cardiff searching for opening win

Cardiff endured an up-and-down season last year, finishing with a 9-13 record to end the season seventh in the standings. 

The team’s leading scorer, Shannon Hatch, departed in the summer, opening the door for a new face to lead the club forward. 

Early on, it’s been American rookie Haylee Saurette leading the way with 15.5 points per game. 

In 2022-23, Saurette led Point Loma in scoring and rebounding, marking the third-straight season she averaged double-digit scoring and over seven rebounds per game during her collegiate career. 

Despite her efforts, the Archers started out 0-2 after facing the same two opponents as the Riders to begin the season. Managing only 55.5, they’ll have to find ways of upping their production to keep up with Leicester’s high-powered offence in this one. 

Key matchup

Off the back of her first international appearances for Great Britain, Sam Ashby returns to the squad in good form. 

Ashby impressed on her first outing and was entrusted with 20 minutes against Estonia on the road in the second of the two games. She went perfect from the field, hitting a three and making all four of her free throw attempts to put up eight points, eight rebounds and a steal on the game. 

For the Riders, she’s putting up 14 points from 21 minutes per outing, shooting 52.4% from the field and 42.9% from three. Last time out against the Wolves, the Australian-born guard went off for 18 points and six rebounds, making an impact on the glass. 

Facing up against Ashby in the backcourt will be Former Hawai‘i Hilo star guard Mandi Kawaha. Kawaha became the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo all-time leading scorer and assists leader, and also holds the single-game scoring record with 36 points. 

Last time out against the Manchester Giants, she scored 17 points to lead her team in her second outing for the club. She shot 40% from three in her final college season, so Ashby and the rest of the team will need to pay close attention to the Hawaiian native in this one. 


Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

International Watch: Sam Ashby impresses in first international outings

Sam Ashby was on international duty this week, suiting up for Great Britain for their EuroBasket qualification campaign. 

Ashby made her international debut against Sweden, logging eight minutes of action and making an immediate impact on the game with an and-one play through traffic.

GB fell in agonising fashion against Sweden, losing 64-62 after the game came down to the wire. 

Ashby impressed on her first outing and was entrusted with 20 minutes against Estonia on the road. She went perfect from the field, hitting a three and making all four of her free throw attempts to put up eight points, eight rebounds and a steal on the game. 

She now returns home, ready to suit up in Riders red as Leicester take on Cardiff Met Archers on the road on Saturday. 


Want to see Ashby in action?

Get tickets to the Riders’ next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Sam Ashby named to GB roster

Riders guard Sam Ashby has been named to the Great Britain 12-player roster for the upcoming EuroBasket Qualifiers.

This news comes after Ashby was called up for the pre-qualifiers training camp roster.

Great Britain will face Sweden tonight at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester at 7:30 pm, and Estonia away on Sunday, November 12.

It will be the 22-year-old’s first international appearance for Great Britain.


Want to see Ashby in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Sam Ashby receives first Great Britain Call-Up

Riders guard Sam Ashby has been named to Great Britain’s training camp roster ahead of next week’s EuroBasket Qualifiers. 

It’s a first international call-up for Ashby, the Riders’ summer signing who has averaged 14 points and three rebounds on 52.4% shooting through her first two games of the Women’s British Basketball League season. 

Great Britain will face Sweden at home on Thursday, November 9, and Estonia away on Sunday, November 12.

“It’s a privilege to have this opportunity to train with some of the best players in the country,” said Ashby.

“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting started!”

McKenzie Johnston named to Team of the Week

Riders captain Mckenzie Johnston was named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week for her performance against Oaklands Wolves this weekend.

Johnston put up 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the Riders’ 92-78 win, grabbing four boards on the offensive end.

The Montana-born guard went 6-11 from the field, making both of her three-point attempts and going perfect on her five foul shots.

She made headlines with her one-in-a-million full-court heave, finding nothing but string from her own foul line to close the opening half.

Johnston is averaging 15.5 and seven rebounds through the first two games of the season, hitting the ground running in her second year in Riders red.


Want to see Johnston in action?

Get tickets to our next home game against Nottingham Wildcats!

Rayven Peeples named to Team of the Week

Riders forward Rayven Peeples has been named to the Women’s British Basketball League Team of the Week following week one’s action.

Peeples was dominant in the team’s season opener, leading the Riders to a 92-65 win against Manchester Giants.

She put up 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and led the charge in the third quarter which saw the Riders blow the game open.

In week two, Peeples continued her dominance in the paint with her second straight double-double, going off for 11 points and 12 rebounds in the Riders’ win against Oaklands Wolves.

Report: Riders beat Wolves

Leicester Riders beat the Oaklands Wolves 92-78 on the road to improve to 2-0 on the season. 

The Riders had three players score over 18 points, showcasing their strength across the roster. Taylor O’Brien led the game with 21, backed by McKenzie Johnston’s 19 and Sam Ashby’s 18 in a bombardment from the backcourt. 

A 30-18 third quarter proved the difference in the tie after a tightly contested first half. The Riders saw themselves up narrowly as the quarter came to a close, before Johnston’s full-court heave to beat the buzzer snatched momentum for the visitors. 

The Riders dominated the glass throughout, winning the rebounding battle 50-35 led by Rayven Peeple’s 12 for her second-straight double-double. 

Oaklands led at the half and put on a good showing throughout, forcing Leicester to compete for 40 minutes to get the win over the line. Shaquera Wade’s 14 points, five rebounds and three assists led the team, but it wasn’t enough as the Wolves fell to 1-1. 

Sam Ashby’s dominance began from the jump. In the first quarter she stuffed the stat sheet, putting up eight points and four rebounds in just six minutes. Her efforts were matched by Oakland’s Wade, who also put eight on the board in a back-and-forth backcourt battle. 

The Riders trailed through seven minutes before Peeples cleaned up Ashby’s missed layup with three minutes left in the quarter. That gave Leicester their first lead of the game, which they carried into the end of the first. 

The Wolves exploded to start the second quarter with a 10-0 run, draining two threes out the gate and forcing a Riders timeout. It was Ashby again who stemmed the tide, making a layup inside as Leicester kept in the tie.

The Wolves held them at arm’s length for much of the second. Their lead remained around two scores, finding the basket consistently despite Peeple’s seven points in the quarter.

Momentum swung the Riders’ way with two minutes remaining. They finished the half 5-2, cutting it to one possession by the break. 

Where the Riders found form in the third quarter in their season opener, they did the same in this one. Marissa Hamilton provided a threat from behind the arc, hitting two to put Leicester up four. 

It was the visitor’s turn to hold their opponents at arm’s length going into the fourth. Oaklands hung around for most of the quarter, but Johnston sent the Riders’ bench into raptures by making a heave from her own three-point line to beat the buzzer, making it 71-62 with one to play. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates had the hot hand to start the fourth, draining two threes to make it a 14-point game in the Riders’ favour. They saw the game out from there, with American guard Taylor O’Brien’s triple setting the stage for a comfortable finale.

After a two-week break, the Riders will remain on the road for their next tie, heading across the western border to take on Cardiff Met Archers on November 18th. 

Championship Preview: Riders at Wolves

Round two of the Women’s British Basketball League sees the Riders take on Oaklands Wolves on the road.

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Oaklands Wolves

Oaklands College
Hatfield Road
St Albans
Al4 0JA

Saturday, October 28, 5:45 PM

Back with a bang 

The Riders, returning with a revamped roster of fresh and familiar faces, hit the ground running to start their 2023/24 campaign. They beat the Manchester Giants 92-65, led by American forward Rayven Peeples who put up 18 points and 10 rebounds. 

Peeples exploded for 10 points in the third, which saw the Riders expand their lead to 16 after going into halftimes tied at 40. 

Leicester shot 52% from the field and a red-hot 47% from three to record a blowout in their season opener. 

They now turn their attention to Oaklands, as they face their first competitive action on the road this season. 

Winning Wolves on opening night 

After a difficult season last year, going 5-17 in the Championship and missing out on a playoff place, the Wolves started this season 1-0. 

They took on the Cardiff Met Archers on the road, taking a 79-55 win back home to get their season underway in style. 

It was a defensive display by the Wolves, who held Cardiff to just 28.4% shooting from the field in the game. On the other end, Oaklands’ three-point shooting got points on the board, as the visitors made 10 of their 26 attempts. 

Caterrion Thompson led them in the game, the 5’9” guard playing big with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Another performance like that will be sure to test the Riders around the rim. 

Key matchup  

Thompson’s hot start to the season should come as no surprise for those who have followed her career. She arrives in Oaklands having led the scoring for Finnish side Forssain, averaging 18.1 points per game. 

The Ohio-born guard started out her college career at Bowling Green, where she remained until her Junior year. As a Redshirt Junior, Thompson ranked second on her team in scoring with 13.7 points per game and averaged 5.3 rebounds. 

In her final college season with Mississippi State, Thompson averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds, leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage with 41%. 

Tasked with the role of slowing her down is Riders guard Taylor O’Brien, who had a dominant display of her own against Manchester. O‘Brien bossed the opening half of play, getting to the hoop with ease to put up a game-high 12 rebounds and 16 points. 

The rookie signed to the Riders from Flordia State, averaging 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison.

Expect a battle in the backcourt in this one. 

Report: Riders beat Giants to open season

The Riders recorded a dominant win in their season opener, beating the Manchester Giants at home. 

American rookie Rayven Peeples led the game with 18 points, leading a third-quarter charge where the Riders built their lead. She was backed by Taylor O’Brien and Katie Januszewska who scored 16 each. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Leicester Riders Women (@riderswomen)

The score was tied at the half, but the Riders’ offence clicked into gear to score 31 in the third quarter, taking a 20-point advantage going into the fourth. 

For Manchester, the newly re-franchised outfit struggled to generate offence against stifling Riders defence in the second half. Myah Pace led their efforts with 13, but her team managed only 25 points after halftime. 

Throughout a high-scoring first half, nothing separated either side. Young Brit Januszewska impressed in the opening stages, leading the game with eight points upon her Riders return. 

The Charnwood Academy graduate was hot from three early, making two of her first three attempts. 

The Riders went into the half shooting 50% from the field, but 6-13 shooting from the free throw line left the door open for the Giants who were able to remain in the game with their three-point shooting. 

Manchester went 7-14 from deep, and the game was tied at 40 after 20 minutes. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Leicester Riders Women (@riderswomen)

American guard Taylor O’Brien made her mark early on her Riders debut, putting up 13 points and eight rebounds following the first two quarters. She then added to her tally to get the third underway, draining a three to give the Riders the lead. 

Spurred on by the triple, Leicester stretched their lead in the quarter and held the Giants and arm’s length. Six points in two minutes from forward Peeples saw them establish authority at the rim, and a pull-up jumper from returning Rider McKenzie Johnston gave them an eight-point advantage. 

Peeples had 12 points and three offensive rebounds in a monster third-quarter performance, which the Riders won 31-15 to blow the game open. 

Following the offensive explosion in the third, it was a case of seeing it out professionally in the fourth. The Riders stretched their advantage to 30, securing the win in their opening game. 

The Riders return to action on Saturday, where they take on Oaklands Wolves on the road. 

Championship Preview: Riders vs Giants

The Riders host the Manchester Giants on their opening night of the Women’s British Basketball League. 

Attempting to follow up on making all three domestic finals last season, Leicester’s revamped roster will test themselves in competitive action for the first time in this one. 

Fixture information

Leicester Riders vs Manchester Giants

Netball & Badminton Centre- Loughborough University

Saturday, October 21, 6 PM

Get tickets!

New Riders faces

The Riders enter a new era under newly appointed Head Coach Ben Stanley, who brought in a plethora of new signings among returning familiar faces. 

Accompanying the likes of Mckenzie Johnstone and Jessica Eadsforth-Yates, who played a pivotal part in last season’s success, are six new additions to the roster. 

Meet the full roster here! 

Australian guard Sam Ashby, Israeli forward Shahd Abboud and American pair Rayven Peeples and Taylor O’Brien are just a few of the new faces suiting up the East Midlands this season. 

They impressed in pre-season, beating the Sheffield Hatters and Newcastle Eagles, the latter by 20 points on the road. 

The League Championship will prove a whole new task, but early signs are positive for the new Riders roster. 

Giants re-franchise 

Over the summer, the Manchester Mystics franchised to become the Manchester Giants, putting both men’s and women’s basketball under the same name in Manchester. 

The Mystics have left a lasting legacy on the sport, having played nine seasons in the Women’s British Basketball League, memorably lifting the Cup in 2017.

Their first signing of the summer: British Basketball legend Georgia Anderson who returns to action following a season away from the game after the birth of her first child. 

Accompanying Anderson is Leah McDerment, who won the quadruple with the London Lions last season, Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist Hannah Shaw, and former Rider Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus.

With a talented roster marking the start of a new-Giants era, Manchester will have high aspirations going into their first game of the season. 

Key matchup 

Having spent a year on the sidelines, Georgia Anderson will be itching to get back on the court for this season opener. 

The 5’8” point guard is one of the League’s all-time greats, leading the Women’s British Basketball League in all-time Regular Season assists (942) and steals (255), ranks third in scoring (2226) and defensive rebounds (615) and in the top four overall for overall rebounds, assists per game and games played. 

The last time we saw Anderson in action, she put up 13.8 points, seven assists, 4.3 rebounds and two steals per game. 

Facing up against her, and a player who will play a pivotal role from the same spot is American guard Taylor O’Brien. 

The rookie signed to the Riders from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison. 

O’Brien also owns Bucknell’s record in the outdoor high jump and was named to the second Team All-Patriot League with a runner-up finish in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

That athleticism will aid in her defensive efforts against Anderson, as they battle for supremacy in the backcourt. 

Riders sign Hamilton

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of American rookie Marissa Hamilton for the 2023/24 season.

The 6’0” forward played her final college season at Merrimack College, where she put up 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and was named to the NEC Third Team.   

Prior to that, Hamilton spent three years at the University of Buffalo, playing all 31 games as a junior and leading the Bulls in blocks. 

Hamilton will play for the Riders while studying at Loughborough University. The club would like to thank the University for their continued support.

Hamilton commented: “I feel blessed to be able to continue my professional career with the Leicester Riders! I’m super excited to get to work and create some fun memories with the new staff and teammates in places I’ve never been!”

Riders sign Tweedie

Leicester Riders are excited to announce the signing of Elise Tweedie for the 2023/24 season. 

The 21-year-old Scot joins from the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated this summer. 

Tweedie played two seasons for her home country Caledonia Pride in the Women’s British Basketball League. The 6’4” center averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and played 23 games in 2021/22. 

Tweedie will also compete for Loughborough University, where she will complete her master’s degree. The club would like to thank the University for their support.

Tweedie commented: “I’m incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to play for the Riders this season and to make my return to the Women’s British Basketball League. 

“The team’s strong culture, fan base and mission are all things I’m super excited to be a part of. I’m eagerly looking forward to starting this journey with my new teammates and coaches, and I can’t wait to see the success we can attain together!”

Head Coach Ben Stanley commented: “We’re very happy to have Elise join us this year.  She’s contributed for Pride in the League previously and knows the league.  

“She’s got good mobility, she’s versatile and brings with her size, a great attitude and huge willingness to get better. I’m looking forward to getting her on the floor and also seeing her improvement over the season.”

Riders sign Peeples

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Rayven Peeples from St John’s University. 

The 6’3” forward started all 32 games for the Red Storm, and ranked sixth in the conference with 8.7 rebounds per game. She put up 6.7 points and 1.2 points in her final season in the Big East conference. 

In 2021/22, Peeples averaged 8.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, once again leading the team on the boards.

Prior to St Johns, Peeples played for North Carolina A&T as a freshman, then Northwest Florida State College. She led the Northwest Florida Raiders in scoring with 14.0 points per game, and ranked fourth in the country in field goal percentage, shooting 64.2%. 

Peeples commented: “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play for this organisation. Everyone has been very welcoming since the day I decided to sign. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about the team, and I’m really excited to be a part of a winning programme”

Head Coach Ben Stanley added: “We’re really looking forward to having Rayven here. She’s an elite defender and rebounder, and her physicality in the paint will be a great asset for us. 

“Her intangibles are going to be just as important to us as her physical abilities and skill set. Rayven has a high IQ on both ends, and I think she’ll see a lot of growth as the season progresses.”


Image credit: St John’s Red Storm

Riders sign O’Brien

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Taylor O’Brien. 

The American guard signs from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison. 

O’Brien also owns Bucknell’s record in the outdoor high jump and was named to the second Team All-Patriot League with a runner-up finish in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“I am so excited to be a part of this organisation, and have the experience of playing professionally for the first time,” said O’Brien. 

“I am grateful to be on the Riders, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our team can do this year. I can’t wait to get back on the court!”

Head Coach Ben Stanley added: “We’re thrilled to have Taylor in Riders Red this season. 

“We were extremely impressed by her scoring ability both at Bucknell and Floria State, and we’re excited that there is a lot that she continues to add to her game. I’m anticipating her developing a lot with us this year.”

WBBL update: Riders’ roster so far!

We’re counting down the days for the new WBBL season, and it’s been a busy offseason so far! Both new and familiar names have signed to play in Riders red, and there are a few more to come!

Here you can refamiliarise yourself with our roster.

Katie JanuszewskaRetained

 “KJ” is a Charnwood product, joining the Academy in 2020. 

In 2021/2022, the versatile wing averaged 19.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the WEABL and made the All-First Team in the Northern Conference.

She was also named to the Women’s NBL Division One British Team of the Year with the Loughborough Riders, putting up 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. 

Last season, Januszewska join St Francis Brooklyn in NCAA Division One, before returning to the East Midlands for the upcoming year. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates- Retained

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates is a Manchester-born guard who signed a two-year deal last summer, joining from the Newcastle Eagles.

The Charnwood graduate averaged 7.7 points per game in the WBBL Championship for the Riders last year, putting up a season-high 25 points against the Oaklands Wolves.

Jessica also studies at Loughborough University for her master’s, winning the BUCS championship last season.

Erin Powell- Retained

Erin Powell will suit up for the Riders while completing her third year at Charnwood College. 

Powell averaged 28.5 points and 18.8 rebounds in the EABL last season and 6.8 points per game in the WBL Division One for the Loughborough Riders.

She also has experience on the international stage, having played for Great Britain Under-18s.

Shahd Abboud- Signed from Maccabi Ramat Gan

Abboud is an Israeli international, who joined from Maccabi Ramat Gan in the Israeli Premier Division.

She represented her country in the 2021 European Championships and has regularly played for Israeli senior team since 2018.

In 2018, the Nazereth-native was named the first-ever Arab-Israeli captain of an Israeli Premier League team by Hapoel Petah Tikva.

In college, Abboud suited up for Northwestern State University, averaging 8.4 points per game as a junior while starting 28 games.

McKenzie Johnston- Retained

American guard McKenzie Johnston helped the Riders to all three domestic finals last season.

She averaged 8.3 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game in the WBBL Championship.

Johnston signed a two-year deal last summer to play in the WBBL alongside studying for her master’s at Loughborough University.

Sam Ashby- Signed from the University of the Pacific

Sam Ashby is a 5’9” Australian, joining the club following her college career at the University of the Pacific. 

She scored 10.9 per game in her senior year with the Tigers, earning an All-West Coast Conference Honourable Mention selection.

Prior to Pacific, the Perth native played for three years at her hometown Newman College, where she helped her team to three Associated and Catholic Colleges titles. 

She was named MVP in 2017 and earned Most Outstanding Female Basketballer honours in 2016 and 2017.  In 2018, she led Newman to the Marist Grand Final in Sydney.

Ashby will also compete for Loughborough University while she completes her master’s.

Taylor O’Brien- Signed from Floria State University

American guard O’Brien signed from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison. 

O’Brien also owns Bucknell’s record in the outdoor high jump and was named to the second Team All-Patriot League with a runner-up finish in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Rayven Peeples- Signed from St John’s University

Rayven Peeples is a 6’3” forward who started all 32 games for tSt John’s Red Storm last season, ranking sixth in the conference with 8.7 rebounds per game. She scored 6.7 points per game in her final season in the Big East conference. 

In 2021/22, Peeples averaged 8.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, once again leading the team on the boards.

Prior to St Johns, Peeples played for North Carolina A&T as a freshman, then Northwest Florida State College. She led the Northwest Florida Raiders in scoring with 14.0 points per game, and ranked fourth in the country in field goal percentage, shooting 64.2%. 

Elise Tweedie- Signed from University of Edinburgh

21-year-old Scot Tweedie joins from the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated this summer. 

Tweedie played two seasons for her home country Caledonia Pride in the Women’s British Basketball League. The 6’4” center averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and played 23 games in 2021/22. 

Marissa Hamilton- Signed from Merrimack College

6’0” forward Hamilton played her final college season at Merrimack College, where she put up 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and was named to the NEC Third Team.   

Prior to that, Hamilton spent three years at the University of Buffalo, playing all 31 games as a junior and leading the Bulls in blocks. 


Want to sponsor one of our players?

Read about our WBBL sponsorship opportunities in our corporate brochure!

“I can’t wait to be a part of the culture!”- Sam Ashby on her journey to the pros

Leicester Riders’ newest WBBL addition has travelled to the other side of the world to compete in British basketball.

Australian Sam Ashby is a highly touted talent straight out of the University of the Pacific, but the leap into the unknown wasn’t something that was always feasible for her. 

“Until the age of 17, I didn’t like staying away from home for even a night,” said Ashby, recollecting how far she has come since she first moved away from her home city of Perth. 

“I’d struggle to have sleepovers with friends! But college has helped me grow up,” reflected the now 22-year-old.

Sam knew her talent could take her far as a mid-teen, making it onto Western Australian State under 16s at 15. She found herself competing against older age groups, preparing her for what was to come in college. 

She was named Associated and Catholic Colleges MVP in 2017 and won three titles. Next came the difficult transition to America, where she tried her hand at the NCAA system. 

Ashby landed in Stockton, California, ready to play for the University of the Pacific. 

“Going to college was really scary for me. My thought process was that if I try it and I hate it, at least I’ll know and can’t regret it. If I didn’t try, there would always have been the what if.

“I had a big culture shock. It was really tough mentally being away from home. Not having family there, or even being able to talk to them because of the time difference was challenging.

“But I arrived with no expectations and thought to make the most of it.”

Ashby faced adversity on the court too. In her freshman year, she averaged three minutes a game and was forced to fight her way into the team. 

“The first year was tough. I worked really hard, and I thought I deserved to play more than I did. I kept going for extra sessions and giving absolutely everything to show that I was meant to be there.

“My coach didn’t like to play freshmen. His attitude was if you’re young, you have to earn your place, so he played the older girls. I was taking them on in practice and doing well, but I couldn’t get minutes. 

“When I came back for my sophomore year, I’d done a lot of work in the gym. I came back bigger and stronger, and they recognised that I wanted this, and gave me the opportunity.

“I showed up, did my best, and was starting for the team as a sophomore, so I think I proved myself that year.”

Prove herself she did. By her senior year, Ashby was an All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection, starting all 32 games for the Tigers and averaging 10.9 points per game. 

She still had to overcome mental battles, which affected her performance early into her college career.  

“I always had the basic skills, but being young and in the NCAA, I got really stressed out and suffered from performance anxiety. Decisions that I’d never make began creeping into my game. I learnt to relax, and play my own game instead of overthinking everything

“It took a lot of self-reflection and learning how to overcome that.”

Sam leaves college a different person. Someone that has grown in confidence and independence, and is ready to take on the challenges of international basketball. 

“It made me grow up. I went into college as a shy 18-year-old, but I’ve learned how to develop relationships and friendships and talk to strangers. The biggest thing I got out of college was confidence.”

With her newfound confidence, Ashby is ready to take her talents to the UK, under Head Coach Ben Stanley’s leadership.

“Ben was lovely. He told me about his coaching style, and I was really intrigued by it. He sounds like a coach that I want to play for: not a hothead but he knows what he’s doing. Being relaxed, calm and smart is a great attribute as a coach.”

She now brings the work ethic and drive which earned her a starting spot in college to the East Midlands, looking to help push the team forward. 

“I bring hard work, leadership by example and giving everything I can to make myself and others better. I’m looking forward to playing against different players. I’ve never played in the UK before, so I can’t wait to see how everyone plays.”

For Ashby, it’s bigger than just the game. She wants to use her platform to be a role model that she never had growing up. 

“I would love to promote women’s basketball. Its become so much bigger throughout the years, and throughout my college experience, seeing younger girls come in and seeing how they look up to me and other players is huge for me. 

“I never had that when I was younger. Women’s sport wasn’t even streamed at home, so I didn’t have the opportunity to look up to female athletes. Now, I can have an effect on other people which is a really big deal, and we’re really lucky that kids have female athletes to look up to.”

Now, all that’s left is to get started. 

“I’m really excited to meet everyone and play in that atmosphere. I saw the photos from the finals last year, and it looked insane. I can’t wait to be a part of that culture!”


Photo credit: Pacific Tigers

Riders sign Ashby

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Sam Ashby on a two-year deal. 

The 5’9” Australian joins the club following her college career at the University of the Pacific. She scored 10.9 per game in her senior year with the Tigers, earning an All-West Coast Conference Honourable Mention selection. 

Ashby finished led the team in minutes played, free throw percentage and steals, and finished second in rebounding.

Prior to Pacific, the Perth native played for three years at her hometown Newman College, where she helped her team to three Associated and Catholic Colleges titles. 

She was named MVP in 2017 and earned Most Outstanding Female Basketballer honours in 2016 and 2017.  In 2018, she led Newman to the Marist Grand Final in Sydney.

While at Newman, Ashby set the program record for career free throws made and is second all-time in scoring.

Ashby will also compete for Loughborough University while she completes her master’s. The club would like to extend their thanks to the University for their support. 

Ashby commented: “Signing with Leicester brings me so much excitement. I couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to play professionally in another country as well as meet some amazing new people!”

Head Coach Ben Stanley added: “We’re extremely happy to have Sam sign at Riders and Loughborough. She’ll bring grittiness to the team from her experience from Australia, but she is also a real offensive threat with her shooting and ability to get downhill.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing her in Riders red!”

Leicester Riders launch rebrand

Leicester Riders are excited to present their rebrand ahead of the 2023/24 season, ushering in a new era of Riders basketball. 

The Riders are proud to have innovatively evolved throughout their 56-year history as Britain’s oldest professional basketball club. This rebrand allows the club to continue modernising, 10 years on from the launch of its previous logo.

This marks a fresh start for the club, with a revitalised roster of young talent ready to take the reins and add to the Riders’ rich history. 

The updated brand incorporates every facet of the club, from its community work with the Leicester Riders Foundation, its player pathways and development through Charnwood College and Loughborough University, to the first teams in the BBL and WBBL.

The club would like to thank its partners at 5or6 for their support during the rebrand.

Leicester Riders managing director Russell Levenston commented: “It’s been 10 years since the previous logo was created, as we thought it was the fitting moment for us to re-evaluate the Riders brand.

“Looking at how branding has changed over the past decade, we thought it was the right time to refresh ours.

“Thank you for all the work 5or6 has put into supporting the club, both with the rebranding and their continued support through the years. We have worked closely with the team there since they designed the last logo in 2013.

“What is especially pleasing is the new brand’s versatility, and how it can incorporate everything we are about, from our pathways and community work through to the pros.

“These are exciting times for the club, and we look forward to seeing how the brand grows over the coming years. We hope everyone loves it as much as we do!”

2023/24 WBBL Schedule Released

Leicester Riders’ fixtures for the 2023/24 season have been announced.

We host the Manchester Giants on opening night on 21 October.

The WBBL Betty Codona Trophy will take place throughout January, with the draw taking place at a later date.

The new WBBL All-Star game will take place on 17 March, at a venue to be confirmed.

The full fixture list is listed below. Please note that all fixtures are subject to change.

Fixtures

DateTimeCompetitionH/AOpponent
21st Oct18:00ChampionshipHManchester Giants
28th Oct17:45ChampionshipAOaklands Wolves
4th Nov18:00ChampionshipHNewcastle Eagles
18th Nov15:15ChampionshipACardiff Met Archers
25th Nov18:00ChampionshipHNottingham Wildcats
3rd Dec12:00ChampionshipALondon Lions
9th Dec16:00ChampionshipAEssex Rebels
13th/14th JanTBCTrophy Quarter-FinalTBCTBC
20th/21st JanTBCTrophy Semi-FinalTBCTBC
28th JanTBCTrophy FinalTBC
10th Feb16:00ChampionshipHCardiff Met Archers
17th Feb19:30ChampionshipANewcastle Eagles
25th Feb14:00ChampionshipAManchester Giants
2nd Mar18:00ChampionshipHOaklands Wolves
9th Mar18:00ChampionshipHLondon Lions
17th MarTBCAll-Star Game
31st Mar17:00ChampionshipANottingham Wildcats
6th Apr18:00ChampionshipHEssex Rebels
13th Apr13:00ChampionshipADurham Palatinates
21st Apr17:00ChampionshipACaledonia Gladiators
27 Apr18:00ChampionshipHSheffield Hatters
TBCChampionshipHCaledonia Gladiators
TBCChampionshipHDurham Palatinates
TBCChampionshipASheffield Hatters


Ticket information is to be announced in the near future!

International watch: Katie Januszewska to play in the European Youth Championships

Riders’ guard Katie Januszewska is set to suit up for Great Britain Under-20s in the FIBA European Youth Championships!

“KJ” was named to the 12-player roster by Head Coach Chantelle Handy, as the squad prepares to play in Division “B” on July 28.

GB will head to Craiova, Romania, to take on Germany, Ukraine and Switzerland in Group A.

The top two finishers in the group will progress to the quarter-final stage.

Schedule of play

July 28, 1:30 PM- GB vs Ukraine

July 30, 1:30 PM: GB vs Germany

August 2, 4 PM: GB vs Switzerland

Where to watch

You can watch every game on GB Basketball TV.

Shahd Abboud: Breaking down barriers

Shahd Abboud faced a challenging road to professional basketball. Since her rise to the top division of Israeli basketball, she became the first Arab-Israeli to play in the women’s Premier League and the first Arab-Israeli captain in both the men’s and women’s leagues.

Culturally, financially and logistically, Abboud navigated obstacles from the jump to pursue her dream.

“I grew up as a minority. Being an Arab in Israel is challenging in a lot of ways. I’ve always felt like I had to do more to get a fair opportunity.

“I grew up in Nazareth, and when I was in seventh grade, I was recruited by a team in a different city. It was a difficult decision because I was going to be the only Arab girl on the team. I’d be away from my parents and didn’t speak Hebrew very fluently.”

Abboud comes from a basketball family. Her parents coached and played while raising a young child, meaning she grew up on the court. Since birth, she has lived and breathed hoops. 

“When I was born, I used to be at practice all the time. I was in the gym at a young age. Seeing my parents in that environment made me want to be there. Them having basketball as their career also helped them to be able to support me and my dreams.

“I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing people in my career who gave me a platform to succeed. My parents drove an hour and a half to my games growing up to come to watch me!”

Due to a lack of funding in many Arab communities in Israel, sporting opportunities were limited for Abboud. 

She has used her platform to amend this, setting up basketball camps with her father in underfunded areas to allow a pathway for more children to devote their careers to basketball. 

“Due to the gap in funding, Arab teams don’t have anywhere to play in the summer. My dad and I wanted to provide the kids with an opportunity to play. 

“We’re now thinking of how best to integrate the Arab and Jewish communities in our camp. It’s really important for them to get to know each other at an early age, so they can begin to relate and understand each other.

“That’s the best thing about sports. There’s no colour, religion or race. You’re all teammates with the same goal. I was always around incredible people, I never felt different or unwelcome. Sport can be used for a lot of good.”

Abboud finds herself in a unique position, and one she is grateful for. She can represent the Arab community on the international stage, competing for the Israel national team from an early age.

Young children can now look to her, as Abboud looked to her parents as sporting role models. 

“I’ve always been the only Arab girl on the team, but that’s really important so I can show young girls that it’s possible. We always feel like we need to be better to get a fair chance, and a lot of people focus on school.

“I showed them a different way: that you can follow your dreams and still get a degree. I got my master’s while at the top level of basketball. 

“Representation is really important. For kids to see someone who is like them, grew up like them and shares similar views and values. To see her accomplish things makes it easier for them to dream. I’m blessed and honoured to be in a position to set an example.

“I get a lot of kids that want to talk to me and a lot that come to my games. Arab cities now have buses to our games. After the game, I see these kids, and just to see how excited they are and how much they can aspire and dream about getting to the top feels great.”

The Nazareth native’s journey to the top level took her to the other side of the world. It was always her dream to play in the NCAA, which was almost unprecedented for girls growing up in Israel. 

But an unlikely stranger helped to make her childhood dream a reality.  

“I was playing at Israel under-20s, and a stranger approached me and asked if I was interested in playing in America. I said yes, gave him my highlights tape, and he said he’d contact some colleges.

“I thought he was joking! I was just a kid, and I didn’t know him. To this day, I don’t know who he was! But I started getting emails from different schools asking me to come and play! Thank you to that man, wherever you are!”

She earned a spot at Jacksonville Junior College. But as a young girl on the other side of the world, the experience was daunting. 

“It was completely different to what I was expecting. I came expecting a huge school, but of course, it was a junior college, so much smaller. My mum came with me to see it, and even asked if I wanted to go home!

“But I didn’t, and it turned out to be the best experience ever. In JUCO, you have to keep working hard to prove yourself and get to the next level, so I got my work ethic and understanding of what it takes to get better from Jacksonville. I met amazing people who are friends for life.”

And get to the next level she did. Abboud was a NJCAA Academic All-American named to the NJCAA Region 14 All-Academic Team. This caught the eye of Northwestern State, where she spent her final two college seasons. 

Reflecting on her early college experience, Abboud draws parallels to her move to Leicester. 

“It feels the same now! I feel the same excitement and nerves, and I’m 28! I have the same feelings: I’m giddy and excited. It’s a great feeling that reminds me of when I first went to the States.

“I’m at a point in my career where I’m ready to expand my horizons. I think Leicester and Loughborough University will be great places to try something new, see a new country and still play basketball.”

Years removed from college, now a seasoned professional, Abboud is ready to bring veteran leadership to the Riders. 

“Throughout the years, I’ve really developed my leadership. At the start of my career, I would turn up, do my job, and that would be it. My coaches always wanted more. 

“They always told me: ‘The way you hold yourself accountable is how you have to hold your teammates accountable’. I’ve learned how to set an example and help everyone else improve.

“I look to bring my basketball IQ to the team, and being able to play the game the right way, or Coach Ben’s way! Also, being one of the oldest on the team, I hope to be a figure for the younger players to come and speak to. 

“I love making new relationships and getting to know people. I think it’s the best way to be, to bring the best out of others.”

Previewing the upcoming season, Abboud has a message for the Riders faithful:

“Come watch us! I’ve heard a lot of great things about the fans, so I’m really excited to meet you all. I’ve been getting a lot of love since I signed, and we’re building a team that will be fun to watch. It’s going to be a great season, and I can’t wait to start!”

Riders retain Johnston

Leicester Riders can announce the retention of American guard McKenzie Johnston to their 2023/24 roster. 

Helping the Riders to all three domestic finals last season, she averaged 8.3 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game in the WBBL Championship. 

Johnston signed a two-year deal last summer to play in the WBBL alongside studying for her master’s at Loughborough University.

The club would like to thank the University for their support. 

“I enjoyed my last season with the Riders, so I’m looking forward to getting back and building on what we built last with a new group,” said Johnston. 

“The team will be different, but Coach Ben is doing a great job of getting the right group of people together to be successful.” 

“We’re very excited to have McKenzie back with us,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She’s a proven factor, and there are very few players that are as creative and selfless as her in this league. Her impact as a leader is also unquantifiable for us, and I’m really looking forward to working with her.” 

Riders sign Abboud

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of 5’11” guard Shahd Abboud for the 2022/23 season.

The Israeli international joins from Maccabi Ramat Gan in the Israeli Premier Division.

She represented her country in the 2021 European Championships, and has regularly played for Israeli senior team since 2018.

In 2018, the Nazereth-native was named the first-ever Arab-Israeli captain of an Israeli Premier League team by Hapoel Petah Tikva.

In college, Abboud suited up for Northwestern State University, averaging 8.4 points per game as a junior while starting 28 games.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity and excited to be joining the Riders,” said Abboud.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to work with Coach Stanley, getting to know my teammates and building chemistry in order to achieve our goals this season.”

“Shahd is going to be a huge credit to the programme,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She brings a wealth of experience and determination, and she really knows how to play the right way. She’ll be a fantastic role model for our community with all she’s accomplished so far, and we’re excited to have her here.”

Riders retain Powell

Leicester Riders can confirm the return of Erin Powell for the 2023/24 season. 

The 5’10” forward will suit up for the Riders while completing her third year at Charnwood College. 

Powell averaged 28.5 points and 18.8 rebounds in the EABL last season and 6.8 points per game in the WBL Division One for the Loughborough Riders. 

She also has experience on the international stage, having played for Great Britain Under-18s.

“I’m super excited to get back to playing and learning with the Riders,” said Powell. 

“My last two years with the programme have allowed me to progress towards my goals greatly. Hopefully, I can make positive impacts on the floor with my team. 

“I love the atmosphere at Riders, and I am grateful to have another year of development with them.”

“I’m really interested to see Erin continue to develop this season with us,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She’s shown a lot of improvement over the last year and has already impressed me in conversation this summer. This year should be a big jump for her.”

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates back for 2023/24!

Leicester Riders are delighted to confirm that Jessica Eadsforth-Yates has been retained for the 2023/24 roster. 

The Manchester-born guard signed a two-year deal last summer, joining from the Newcastle Eagles.

Eadsforth-Yates, a Charnwood graduate, averaged 7.7 points per game in the WBBL Championship for the Riders last year, putting up a season-high 25 points against the Oaklands Wolves. 

The deal includes Jessica’s studies at Loughborough University, where she won the BUCS championship last season.

The club would like to thank Loughborough University for their support.

“I’m very happy to be back with Riders following an overall successful season for the team last year!” commented Eadsforth-Yates. 

“I’m looking forward to getting to know Coach Stanley more and improving personal development, along with new team goals! I can’t wait to get back to work and start building towards what should be an exciting year for the team!”

“We’re really happy to have Jess back,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley.

“I’ve watched her for many years, and I know she’s passionate, team-oriented and ready to work. I’m looking forward to having her with us for another year.”

Riders sign Januszewska

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of Katie Januszewska for their 2023/24 roster. 

Januszewska is a Charnwood product, joining the Academy in 2020. She signs a four-year deal, and will study for a degree at Loughborough University.

In 2021/2022, the versatile wing averaged 19.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the WEABL and made the All-First Team in the Northern Conference.

She was also named to the Women’s NBL Division One British Team of the Year with the Loughborough Riders, putting up 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. 

Last season, Januszewska joined St Francis Brooklyn in NCAA Division One, before returning to the East Midlands for the upcoming year. 

“We’re really excited to have KJ back,” said head coach Ben Stanley.

“She knows how our programme works and her experience from a young age at WNBL1, WBBL and National Teams is going to be invaluable.  

“She’s got a diverse game that can really help us and she plays hard, and I think that’s going to really help us as we establish our culture.”

“I am excited for the opportunity,” said  Januszewska.

“I’m grateful to be able to return home and continue my studies while playing basketball for the Riders, who have had a big part in my journey so far.”

Ben Stanley: A message to the fans

Hello to all the Riders fans! 

First, let me say that it’s a privilege to be a head coach in this historic club, and I can’t wait to get started.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind process. I was expecting to stay with Solent for another season, but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up and something I’m thrilled to be doing.

Watching from a distance, this club looked like a great environment where everyone got on. I spoke to Ashley Arlen, who I’ve known since her Nottingham days, and she said this was a great group. 

I’ve heard similar things from everyone I speak to. That’s really exciting, and of course, this was a very competitive team last year. 

This year, we’re going to be trying to figure out who we are and what our goals are. In the short term we’re going to be focussing on our character and culture. 

We still want to win, that’s massively important to me and the club, but we also want to establish who we are as a team.

In the long term we want to be highly competitive in the WBBL. We want to continue to make finals and win things.

It’s essential to me to build a strong culture within this team. Culture is led by the coach, but ultimately it comes from the players. I can guarantee we’ll play hard and play together. 

In my role as women’s coach it’s very important to me that the players get the respect that the men get. 

They work as hard and they are just as knowledgeable, so it’s very important to me that we grow the women’s game.

I would love to be in a position where we are close to selling out the arena every game. That would be huge for us. That comes from having the right character of players throughout the programme, from juniors to pros. 

That includes everything on the court and everything we do in the community as well. I’ll be out there doing everything I can, and the players will support that too. 

I’m also delighted to begin my role as Loughborough BUCS head coach! 

I played for Brunel just as our rivalry with Loughborough was coming to a close, so it’ll be a little weird having the purple on me for the first couple of games! 

But I’m extremely excited about it, and to be a part of that programme with a storied history is something I’m looking forward to.

I can’t wait to get to know the fans! Please come out and support the girls, we’ll have a great on-court product for you next year and I know we’re going to have great people that will be great examples for the youth of Leicester and Loughborough. 

I’m looking forward to meeting you all!

Ben Stanley

Ben Stanley takes the reins!

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the appointment of Ben Stanley as head coach.

Stanley was named NBL women’s Coach of the Year last season after a league-winning campaign with Team Solent Kestrels. 

Prior to Solent, Stanley had a near decade-long association with Nottingham Hoods, as a player from 2013 and as head coach until 2022. 

Along with coaching the WBBL Riders, Stanley will coach the Loughborough University team in BUCS competition.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining Riders,” commented Stanley. 

“The programme has such a history, and to be a part of that is a real privilege. I can’t wait to get started with the Ladies and see what we can build both this season and into the future.”

Managing director Russell Levenston commented: “Ben is an experienced coach that everyone at the club is excited to work with as we continue the growth of our women’s programme.

“We have a lot of work to do and I’m really looking forward to him starting. Ben really bought into the long-term aims and objectives of the club as we continue to improve every day.

“We would like to thank our partners at Loughborough University for their ongoing support. Ben will prove a fantastic coach across both WBBL and Loughborough programmes.”

Ian Knott, Head of Sports Development at Loughborough Sport added: “We are thrilled to welcome Ben into the Loughborough Sport family. 

“We are very proud of the achievements of the basketball programme and its longstanding partnership with Leicester Riders.  We are very excited for the season ahead with much to do.”

Stanley has been signed to a three-year deal, committing to the team for multiple seasons. 


Photo credit: Kai Johnson

Krumesh Patel departs as head coach

Leicester Riders can confirm the departure of Krumesh Patel as head coach. 

Last season, Patel led the team to three finals for the first time in their history and third place in the WBBL Championship with a 17-5 record. 

He also led Loughborough University women to the BUCS championship. 

“It’s been a great year at Riders, and really nice to return to where I started,” said Patel. “I’d like to thank all the staff and players for everything this year!”

“To have a historic season is a credit to them and something I will never forget. Unfortunately, it’s time to move on, but I wish the programme all the best moving forward.”

The club wishes Krumesh well in his future endeavours.  

Riders fall in Playoff Final

The Riders fell 57-41 to the London Lions in the WBBL Playoff final. 

They remained in touching distance until the fourth quarter, keeping the Lions off the scoresheet effectively. A second-half surge from the league winners saw them complete the clean sweep of silverware this season. 

Fiona O’Dwyer led Leicester’s offensive efforts with 10 points, hitting key shots throughout to keep her team in contention. It was a one-point game midway through the period, but London found their offensive rhythm late on. 

London’s Ty Battle was named Final MVP, putting up eight points and a dominant 15 rebounds.

The Riders made it a defensive game early, keeping London’s offensive sets in the halfcourt and keeping them to one possession by crashing the glass. They built a lead with their physical play, O’Dwyer’s three making it 8-4 after four minutes. 

After missing a lot of their early looks from range, the Lions attacked the paint to bounce back. Ty Battle’s back-to-back buckets kickstarted a 13-0 London run midway through the first.  

Battle’s free throws ended the quarter with London up 19-10. 

The Riders fought back to start the second. Hannah Robb put on the moves in the post, breaking Holly Winterburn’s ankles to cap off a 10-2 run. The run cut the game to one: the Riders back in the tie. 

The Lions regained control of the tie, ending the half 10-3, but the Riders were within touching distance going into the locker rooms led by seven from O’Dwyer. 

In a low-scoring third, London edged ahead. It was a 6-2 period in London’s favour after seven minutes, and the game went without a score for five of those. O’Dwyer hit a three near the end of the third to give the Riders an outside chance at the comeback.

But London came storming out the gates in the final quarter, starting  5-0 to jump out to a 19-point lead. They saw the game out professionally from there, taking their lead to the final buzzer to win the Playoff title. 

The game concludes the Riders 2022-23 season. Thank you for your incredible support all year. 

WBBL Playoff Final Preview

The Riders are set to face off against the London Lions in a final for the third time this season. Making three finals in a season is a franchise record for the club, but they hope the third time is the charm in this one to take some silverware back to Leicester. 

Road to the final 

After finishing third in the league standings with a 17-5 record, the Riders were faced with two opponents standing between them and the O2 Arena. 

The first was the Essex Rebels, who played the Riders to an overtime classic. They entered the fourth down 10, but back-to-back threes from Fiona O’Dwyer kicked off an inspired comeback. 

Ashley Arlen and Oliana Squires won it at the free-throw line at the end of overtime, progressing them to the semi-finals against the second-placed Caledonia Gladiators. 

This one was more straightforward, as the Riders dominated a 19-point road win against their Scottish contemporaries. 

Squires led the game with 25, but it was their defence which won them the day. Leicester held the Gladiators to 30% shooting from the floor, and outrebounded them 39 to 30 in the win. 

Familiar foes

These teams are well-versed in competing at the top level of domestic basketball. They have faced twice this season in finals, the Lions coming out victors on both occasions. 

The first was a tough outing for the Riders. The Lions dominated the WBBL Cup final, winning 95-42 led by Final MVP Holly Winterburn’s 16 points and nine rebounds. 

Squires’ attempt to inject rhythm into the Riders’ offence resulted in a game-high 23 points, but the game was never in doubt. 

The WBBL Betty Codona Trophy final was a different matter. The Riders had the game within five points midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a finish at the rim by Hannah Robb. 

Lions’ American forward Ty Battle responded with six straight to see the game out, but the Riders will take confidence from being in the game late, minutes away from winning the Trophy. 

It took a monumental 33 points from Lions’ GB star Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan to win it. The Riders were led by 22 points and 14 rebounds from star forward Arlen.

Key matchup 

Arlen enters this game on a high, having been named to the WBBL Team of the Year earlier in the week. 

The American forward averaged 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds this season, shooting 42% from the field, and has continued to demonstrate her elite abilities in the postseason. 

Arlen put up 18 points and 14 rebounds in the Riders’ overtime victory over the Essex Rebels in the quarter-final and 12 in the semi-final against the Caledonia Gladiators. The Riders’ will need a performance like the Trophy final from their frontcourt. 

Facing up against Arlen and vying for her second final MVP of the season is Herbert-Harrington. “Kiki” started her post-college career in the WNBA, where she was drafted sixth overall in the 2020 draft by the Minnesota Lynx.

She finished her rookie season playing in 21 games averaging 3.8 ppg and shooting 42.2% from 3. The next season, Herbert-Harrigan signed for Turkish basketball Team Kayseri Basketbol before singing in London this year. 

Herbert-Harrington led the Lions this season with 18.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game, her points tally ranking second in the WBBL. The Riders will have their work cut out to slow her offence down. 

Where to watch

The game is live on Sky Sports and on their youtube channel, starting at 1:15 pm. It will take place before the BBL Playoff final, also between the Lions and Riders. 

HOOP HQ opens in Loughborough

The exciting new venue in Loughborough town centre has been created to raise funds for the Leicester Riders Foundation, whilst also inspiring the future generation of British basketball talent

British basketball team, Leicester Riders, has today announced the opening of Hoop HQ, an exciting new venue designed to get more young people off the streets and onto the court.

The new experiential space, which is located in Loughborough town centre on Market Street, has been created to raise funds for the Leicester Riders Foundation, give more local children access to the sport and ultimately cultivate the future pipeline of British basketball talent.

The Leicester Riders Foundation already works with lots of communities all over Leicestershire and the Hoop HQ concept will be used as a model around the country. The area will look to become a community base for everyone to be able to access the game of basketball and connect with like-minded individuals, whether that’s through shooting some hoops or playing 3×3 basketball. 

The launch of Hoop HQ comes just days before Leicester Riders battle it out against London Lions at the British Basketball Play-Off Finals. Taking place this Sunday at the O2 Arena in London, the Riders will be looking to defend their title for the second year running. 

Commenting on the space, Leicester Riders Managing Director and Riders Foundation Trustee, Russell Levenston said: “The opening of Hoop HQ has been a dream of mine and I’m so excited to see it finally come to life. A huge thank you to Raff, the landlord for offering the shop to the foundation and believing in the project, as well as to the local companies and volunteers who’ve helped turn this into a safe, enjoyable space for the community to use.”

Hoop HQ landlord, Raff Russo said: “Hoop HQ is a fantastic initiative and the Leicester Riders team has worked tirelessly to turn what was the old Blockbusters into a welcoming venue for all the community to enjoy. This is a one-of-a-kind space which will be pivotal in driving awareness for British basketball and help to inspire the next generation of players.”

James Sirrell, Director of EDSB Compliance Solutions, commented: “EDSB Compliance Solutions are proud to support Leicester Riders Basketball team and their new Retail outlet in Loughborough. The EDSB team have worked night and day over the past few weeks to get everything compliant in time for their grand opening and we look forward to partnering up with them for many years to come.”

Hoop HQ will be open to the public from Tuesday 23rd May and will be open 6 days a week from 2pm-10pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on Weekends. 

Arlen named to Team of the Year!

Ashley Arlen has been named to the Molten WBBL Team of the Year!

The American forward averaged 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds this season, shooting 42% from the field. She led the team to third place in the WBBL Championship standings with a 17-5 record.

Her season high was 25 points and 11 rebounds came on the season opener, and was one of seven double-doubles the Iowa native put up this season.

Arlen has continued to demonstrate her elite abilities in the postseason. She had 18 points and 14 rebounds in the Riders’ overtime victory over the Essex Rebels in the quarter-final and 12 in the semi-final against the Caledonia Gladiators, which saw them advance to the final in the O2 Arena.

Congratulations Ashley!

Bowman dunks on top of the O2!

The British Basketball League delivered the first of its kind show-stopping basketball dunk competition, brought to you by General Tire, at the top of The O2. 

All to celebrate the countdown to the British Basketball League play-off finals, which take place later this month.

Leicester Riders star and high-flyer Blake “The Showman” Bowman headed 52 meters up onto the iconic roof of The O2, with roofwalk attraction Up at The O2 which provides panoramic views overlooking London’s skyline, where he recreated a series of epic slam dunks from this year’s regular basketball season, performing and recreating one iconic dunk for each of the qualifying teams who have made it through to this year’s BBL play-offs. This included Tajh Green’s unbelievable off the backboard dunk for Manchester Giants, Josh Sharma’s jam for the London Lions and Bristol Flyer’s alley-oop spectacular. You can view all eight dunks by clicking HERE.

A judging panel of experts were on hand to cast their verdict on which dunk would be crowned the BBL’s ‘Dunk of the Season’. The panel included WBBL board member Siobhan Prior, Behrad Bakhtiari and Denzel Kazembe from Simply British Ballers and leading basketball reporter Sam Neter from the dedicated British basketball website, Hoopsfix. 

After eight outstanding dunk recreations, it was Bowman’s very own windmill jam that came out on top, crowning him champion of the British Basketball League “Now You Know” Dunk Challenge, brought to you by General Tire.

The activity, hosted by British Basketball master of ceremonies Tahir Hajat, celebrates another incredible year for the British Basketball League, continues to showcase the appetite there is for Basketball in the UK, whilst also raising awareness for the season defining play-off finals which take place at The O2 on Sunday May 14th. 

An expected capacity crowd of close to 17,000 fans are set to generate an electric atmosphere inside The O2, with the British Basketball League’s flagship event also set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports. 

Fans from across the world are also encouraged to vote for their favourite dunk from the season by using the #BritishDunks and #NowYouKnow. 

The British Basketball League’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Joe Edwards, said:

“Make no mistake, this season the British Basketball League has made history and we’ve taken the sport we all love to new heights.  We wanted to do something to grab the attention of Basketball fans and the general public and celebrate the end of season play-off’s at The O2. 

He added: “Whilst a completely crazy idea it might seem, it made complete sense to do this, and we hope Basketball Fans worldwide enjoy what the British Basketball League has to offer.  I want to say a special thanks to our partner General Tire, and all of our other partners, the players and our staff for sharing our vision together and making this possible.”

Speaking on the incredible dunk challenge, Peter Robb, Marketing Director at General Tire, said:

It’s great to work on this project with the British Basketball League, basketball in Britain is really taking off and it was fantastic to be able to support  such an innovative idea. The challenge perfectly ties in with our brand’s philosophy of ‘anywhere is possible’, so it was a real privilege to partner with the league and make this incredible idea come to life. 

“The British Basketball League has done an amazing job in harnessing the country’s love for basketball and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. As an SUV/off road tyre specialist we stand for adventure and getting out and living life to the full, so hopefully this project encourages people of all ages to get off the sofa and participate in the sport and head down to watch their local British Basketball League team in action.”

British Basketball has never been at such a high – in every sense of the word, after another meteoric year for the league, which has seen incredible progress both on and off the court. The league has had record viewership across its broadcast, fans have packed into arenas across the country each week and the men’s championship champions, London Lions, proudly flew the flag for UK basketball in a record breaking run in the EuroCup. 

But the trophy the teams all dream to lift is still up for grabs, as the league’s most sought after championship game, the play-off final is set to thrill a sold out crowd at The O2 on Sunday May 14th.

Just four teams remain standing and fighting for the chance to compete in the play-off finals in ten days time. London Lions face Cheshire Phoenix, whilst Bristol Flyers do battle with last season’s champions Leicester Riders this week to try to book their tickets to the capital. 

Tickets for the event are selling fast and fans can grab the last few remaining tickets by visiting https://www.bbl.org.uk/2023playoffs/

Fans unable to make the finals will be able to tune in live on Sky Sports and the Sky Sports YouTube Channel on Sunday May 14th from 13:00 BST.

Golden Ball Treasure Hunt!

The British Basketball League (BBL) has announced the launch of the ‘Golden Ball Treasure Hunt’, a campaign designed to drive engagement and awareness around the end-of-season Play-Off Finals, and give eight lucky individuals the chance to each win a pair of tickets to be at the final.

The treasure hunt begins on Monday 24th April whereupon a golden ball will appear in the each of hometowns of the eight qualifying teams: London Lions, Bristol Flyers, Leicester Riders, Manchester Giants, Caledonia Gladiators, Sheffield Sharks, Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles. For the next two weeks, the ball will embark upon a journey across Leicester, visiting schools, local landmarks and many more places. Individuals looking to take part in the fun will need to keep their eye on the Riders social media where they will be sharing clues regarding the ball’s whereabouts.

To enter and be in with a chance of winning the tickets, those who come across the ball will be encouraged to take a picture with the ball and upload it onto either Instagram or Twitter tagging @BBLOfficial and using the hashtags #NowYouKnowRiders and #GoldenBall.

The golden ball will come to a halt at each of the team’s home leg of the quarter-finals, where those attending the game will also have a chance to enter the competition.

Eight winners will be selected at random on Monday 8th of May and the individuals will receive a pair of tickets to attend the BBL Play-Off Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday 14th May.

Commenting on the campaign, British Basketball League Head of Marketing and Communications, Joe Edwards said:

“We are really excited to be launching our Golden Ball activation as we continue to build upon the #KnowOurName and #NowYouKnow campaign and drive continued awareness of the British Basketball League. The purpose of this campaign is to galvanise support in local communities, engage with existing and new audiences, and ultimately reward fans for their support across the season.”

Season Tickets 2023-24

Leicester Riders Season Tickets are now on sale for the 2023-24 season. Riders are delighted to announce that the season ticket price has been frozen!

Adults £295
Child £65
Concessions £215

Current season ticket holders have been contacted directly and are able to retain their existing seat if booked before 12th June 2023.

All Season Ticket purchasers will earn Loyalty points. These points will be just part of our new Members scheme, which will provide new benefits to our Season Ticket holders. We intend the launch of the Members scheme in May.

If there are any issues in securing your booking, please contact us on 0116 326 9700, or write to [email protected]

If you are purchasing a season ticket for the first time online please follow this link.

Riders fall just short in Trophy final

The Riders fell just short of their fourth WBBL Trophy win, losing 81-70 to the London Lions. 

They pushed the Lions wire to wire, cutting the game to five with six minutes remaining. Star forward Ashley Arlen led the Riders’ effort with 22 points, and an eight-point start to the fourth quarter from sharpshooter Hannah Robb made it a game late. 

It took a monster 33-point effort from former WNBA player Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan to beat Leicester. It was the record for the most points in a WBBL Trophy final, and a well-earned final MVP performance from the brit.

The Riders got off to the perfect start. They scored six points from their first two possessions and edged the early lead through five minutes thanks to threes from Oliana Squires and Arlen.

London found their offensive rhythm in the final stages of the first, jumping out to a 15-8 advantage. Fiona O’Dwyer stemmed the Lions’ run four points to close the quarter, but London scored five points in the last 22 seconds to make it a 10-point game after one. 

The Riders came storming back into the tie in the second. O’Dwyer got the second quarter underway from the midrange, getting her sixth points of the afternoon, an eight-point explosion from Arlen made it a one-score affair. 

The Lions made attempts to rebuild the lead, getting it back to eight, but the Riders found responses throughout the quarter with big shots dropping from Arlen, O’Dwyer and Robb. 

40-36 was the score in London’s favour at halftime.

It took a minute and a half for the Riders to take their first lead since early in the first. Robb followed up Arlen’s midrange jumper with a three, making it 41-40. 

The Lions jumped out to a double-digit lead with 10 points from Herbert-Harrigan. The Riders stalled the Lions progress mid-quarter, and Mckenzie Johnston made it a 10-point game going into the fourth.

Robb took over the opening stages of the fourth to chip into the deficit. She scored seven points in four minutes to make it a five-point game with six to play. 

But the Lions closed the game out stronger, and the Riders could not get over the crest to win it.

Betty Codona WBBL Trophy Final Preview: Riders vs Lions

The Riders take on the London Lions in their second WBBL final of the season, battling for the Betty Codona Trophy. 

It would be the fourth time the Riders have lifted the Trophy, most recently in 2020. 

Season so far: Riders

The game is a first vs second clash, as the Riders currently sit a place from the top spot in the WBBL Championship. They possess a 12-2 record and are level on points with their final opponents. 

They’re an efficient outfit, ranking top four in field goal, free throw and three-point percentage, and dominate the defensive boards, ranking second in the league. 

Ashley Arlen leads the scoring for the team this season, putting up 16.1 points per game. The veteran forward’s eight rebounds a game leads the team also, as she leads the front line for Leicester. 

The Riders will look for a big game from Arlen in this one! 

Season so far: Lions 

The league-leading Lions hold a 12-1 record this season and enter this one on a three-game winning streak.

They’re the league’s top scorers, putting up 95.6 points per game, 12 points more than the second-highest scorers. But last month, the Caledonia Gladiators came up with a winning formula against the Lions with a 68-67 road win. 

It was the first domestic defeat for London in two seasons after the Riders beat them in April 2021. 

The Lions won the previous meeting between the sides in the WBBL Cup final, taking home the first piece of WBBL silverware of the season. 

Since then, London have seen a change of personnel in the head coaching role, with Greek international Stella Kaltsidou taking the helm. It remains a tough test for the Riders as they go for the trophy. 

Road to the final: Riders

The Riders fought through three games to reach the final, winning them by an average of 30 points.

They started their campaign against the Oakland Wolves, winning in a dominant 104-55 fashion. Oliana Squires led the game with 24 points in a game the Riders held the lead since early in the first quarter. 

The quarter-finals was a hard-fought 54-44 win against the Caledonia Gladiators. The Riders held a one-possession lead going into the final quarter, but a 7-0 run to start the fourth allowed them to jump out to a double-digit lead, which they held until the buzzer. 

They took a trip to the North East for the semi-final, as they booked a place in the final with a 91-63 win against the Newcastle Eagles. Kirsty Brown’s 18 topped the team’s scoring tallies, as Leicester went 15-16 from the free-throw line to dominate the Eagles. 

Road to the final: Lions

The Lions progressed through the Trophy’s three rounds thus far confidently, dismissing the Brent Bulls, the Cardiff Met Archers and the Sheffield Hatters

.Paulina Hersler’s 25 points led a first-round win against the Bulls, as the Lions took a 98-42 win. They forced 33 turnovers from their opponents with suffocating defence. 

The Lions then beat the Archers 104-55, led again by Hersler who scored 20. Hersler went 9-17 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots, dominating inside. 

Lions’ duo Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Holly Winterburn took over the semi-final with 26 points each, blowing out the Hatters 112-77. London went just 3-14 from three and still dominated the game, making 45 field goals. 

Where to watch

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports, and the Sky Sports Youtube channel. 

Tip-off is at 1 pm, with coverage starting at 12:30 pm. 

Arlen wins Player of the Month

Ashley Arlen has been named the WBBL Molten Player of the Month for Febuary!

The Iowa-born forward has averaged 21 points per game in a 3-0 month for the Riders, including a 24-point game against the Cardiff Met Archers.

Arlen leads the table-topping Riders with 16.3 points per game on their way to an 11-1 record.

“Winning player of the month is always a great recognition, mainly for the club and the team,” said Arlen.

“I’ve always said there’s no such thing as an individual award in basketball, so all credit goes to the team and coaches for putting me in a position to succeed and be at my best.

“Febuary was a great month for the team, and we hope to keep building on it for the rest of the season!”

The news comes after head coach Krumesh Patel was named the Molten WBBL Coach of the Month, making it a Riders double!

Congratulations Ashley!

Coach Patel named Molten Coach of the Month!

Head coach Krumesh Patel has been named Molten WBBL Coach of the Month for Febuary! 

The Riders went 3-0 during the month, including convincing 30-point victories in the WBBL Championship against the Oakland Wolves and the Cardiff Met Archers. They currently top the WBBL Championship table with an 11-1 record. 

“The award is nothing without the staff and players. They deserve all the credit,” commented Patel.

“I am happy that their success over the month has been rewarded, and I’m lucky to have this group of people around me!”

Congratulations coach!

Riders fall in Cup Final

The Riders fell a game short of a second BBL Cup title, losing to the London Lions 95-42 in the final. 

Oliana Squires led a valiant Riders’ effort against an established European outfit, but could not prevent the Lions from lifting the trophy for the second straight year. She led the game with 23 points, giving everything on the court. 

Young GB star Holly Winterburn was awarded Molten Final MVP, putting up 16 points and eight assists. Every Lions player got in the scoring column in a complete team performance, led by 19 from Mikiah Herbert Harrigan. 

Squires got the Riders on the board to start the game, knocking down three free throws after being fouled from behind the arc. 

Squires scored eight points in the first five minutes, getting off to a hot start. However, two early threes from the Lions’ Katsiaryna Snytsina helped London to an early 16-10 lead. 

Squires continued her first quarter clinic, getting Holy Winterburn off her feet with lightning-quick handles before laying in a tough finish. She scored 10 of the Riders’ 15 first-quarter points, keeping them in the tie. 

Beth Sarson got the Riders on the board in the second period, cutting the Lions’ lead to seven. But London responded with seven straight to extend their advantage. 

The Riders chipped into their deficit midway through the second, as Ashley Arlen put up four straight to make it a 13-point game. London then hit back-to-back threes courtesy of Winterburn and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan to reclaim the points. 

The Lions rode their momentum to close the half, going on an 8-0 run to go up 20. They went into the locker rooms with the score 48-26 in their favour. 

Squires continued her scoring form in the second half, driving to the hoop to draw a foul a minute in. But the Lions won the first five minutes of the third quarter 12-4, getting to the free-throw line effectively. 

The Lions rode their momentum to close the half, going on an 8-0 run to go up 20. They went into the locker rooms with the score 48-26 in their favour. 

Squires led the Riders in the quarter with five points, hitting a three with a minute left, but they held a 38-point deficit with a period remaining. 

Arlen got the fourth underway with a finish inside, as the Riders showed heart to start the final quarter 5-0, following a three from Squires. 

The Lions saw the game out comfortably, becoming the first team in WBBL history to win multiple BBL Cups. 

WBBL Cup Final preview: Riders vs Lions

The Riders are set to take on the London Lions on the big stage, as they fight for the BBL Cup in the Utilita Arena Birmingham. 

Riders look to beat the undefeated

This game features the top two sides in the WBBL this season, as the 8-1 Riders face the 9-0 Lions. The Riders’ only defeat this season came against London, but they look to tie the season series on their way to much-desired silverware. 

Leicester are fighting to reclaim their BBL Cup title from two seasons ago against last season’s quadruple winners. The winner of this one will become the first WBBL side to lift multiple BBL Cups. 

This will be no small task for the Riders, as they attempt to be the first side to beat the Lions domestically since they got the better of them on April 24 2021. 

Bossing the boards

The Riders’ success this season has come on the glass, as they pull down the second most rebounds in the WBBL and the most defensive rebounds. Not allowing second possessions has been key to the eight-game winning streak they take into this one. 

They’re led in this department by former Cup Final MVP Ashley Arlen, who is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game. The Riders have four players grabbing at least six rebounds per game, as gang rebounding has dominated the paint for this physical Riders side. 

Rebounding’s importance will be emphasised in this one, as the Riders face the league’s most efficient shooters in the Lions, who shoot at a red-hot 47.8% from the field this season. Leicester won’t be able to afford to give the ruthless Lions’ offence extra chances in the game. 

Key matchup

Oliana Squires has been in hot scoring form over recent games, averaging 14.2 points over her last four fixtures. She put up a season-high of 26 against the Caledonia Gladiators earlier in the year and has averaged 15.7 points per game in the league thus far. 

The American guard is a first-year pro, having spent four years of college at Montana State. There, she averaged 11.3 points and 1.7 steals, scoring 20 points four times as a junior. 

Squires is a shifty guard, using her agility and handles to find space at the rim or outside, where she can knock down shots effectively. She is shooting 56% from two and 34.7% from three this season, getting it done at all three levels.

Taking on Squires in the backcourt from London is former Rider Holly Winterburn, the three-time WBBL young player of the year. The British guard is putting up 15 points per game in the league this season in her second Lions year. 

Winterburn is one of Britain’s top prospects and was named to the WBBL British Team of the Year on the last three occasions. She is a GB international and won the WBBL Trophy Final MVP last season after a 16-point effort. 

Winterburn is a professional scorer and is elite at slashing to the basket and getting points in close. Her three-point shots keep defenders honest, and finds her teammates open for buckets often, averaging five assists per game. 

Expect fireworks between these two guards in this one.

Where to watch

The game, taking place at Utilita Arena Birmingham, tips off at 12 pm on Sunday, January 29. It will be televised live on Sky Sports and streamed live on the Sky Sports Youtube channel.

After the game, the BBL Cup Final takes place between the Riders and Lions, tipping off at 3 pm.

Read our preview here!

Help us break the WBBL attendance record!

Riders host Sevenoaks Suns on Saturday 4th March at the Morningside Arena, and we’re calling on the support of the Riders nation to help break the WBBL attendance record!

This International Women’s Day game is expected to sell out quickly! Students can secure a ticket for just £5!

You can secure your tickets below:

Dodici Otto X Riders

Leicester Riders have partnered with fashion brand Dodici Otto to produce a Limited Edition jersey.

The Leicester-based brand launched a similar collab with Chelsea FC earlier this year, but this is their very first venture into basketball.

Each shirt features a graffiti style marking the 19 trophies and all the players from this season on the back.

The shirts were done on a limited run of 10, individually numbered. All the profits raised will go to the Riders Foundation.

To buy a shirt from our online store click here!

Riders pop-up shop in John Lewis now open!

Leicester Riders are delighted to partner with John Lewis at Highcross in Leicester, and open a brand new pop-up shop from now until the end of December!

Shoppers will be able to buy all official Riders merchandise including a brand new range of products ahead of Christmas.

Be sure to check it out!

Arlen named in top 3!

Forward, Ashley Arlen has been named in the ‘Top 3 Ballers’ in the WBBL on The BBL Show podcast alongside London Lions, Kiki Herbert-Harrigan and Shanice Beckford-Norton.

Arlen joined the Riders this season after a successful three-year spell at the Nottingham Wildcats and professional experience in Romania, Germany, Spain and Australia. Arlen now leads the Riders’ side as team captain.

After 3 games in the WBBL Championship Arlen has amassed an impressive 18.3 PPG, 2.0 BLKPG, 16 FGM, 7 3PM, 7.7 DRPG – putting her in the league’s top ten across multiple stats.

The Riders will take on the Gladiators on Sunday, 23rd October before hosting the Archers on Saturday, 29th October. You can secure your ticket to home games here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/loughborough-basketball-17898741247

Black History Month celebrated at Flyers game

Players of both Leicester Riders and Bristol Flyers will wear warm-up t-shirts to celebrate Black History Month before Saturday’s away game.

Both sides represent multi-cultural cities and have a rich history of welcoming players from all backgrounds. Riders are also offering free advertising space on their big screens to local black-owned businesses for both home games this month. If you are a black-owned business and want to feature then please email details on your business/address and a 16:9 advert to [email protected].

This week Riders’ Jubril Adekoya interviewed Mo Walker on what Black History Month means to him.

RIDERS SIGN O’DWYER

The Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the addition of Irish International forward Fiona O’Dwyer to their WBBL roster for the upcoming season. 

Originally O’Dwyer was set to play with the Gloucester City Queens however their decision to withdraw from the league has meant she will now make the switch to the Riders.

O’Dwyer is no stranger to the WBBL as she spent two successful seasons with Team Northumbria between 2014-2016 before going on to play in Italy, Spain and Greece over the past 5 seasons.

Last season with Niki Lefkadas in the Greek A1 league she averaged 13.1ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.3apg & 1.4spg as well as competing in the EuroCup.

Her signing and versatility will give the Riders further options across both forward positions. She has a very rounded game being known for her tough & fierce defence but also with the ability to score in a multitude of ways.

“I am excited to return to the WBBL and play for the Leicester Riders. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to meeting the team and starting the season.”

Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted at his side’s latest acquisition.

“It is great to have someone of the calibre and history as Fiona join us. She brings a wealth of experience and leadership with her, which will be invaluable to her teammates. She will allow us to be creative with our rotations and brings a totally different type of skill set that has proven to be effective for her in her career. I’m really excited to have Fiona on board at the Riders.”

 The Riders open their season tomorrow night against Essex Rebels at 7pm at Loughborough University, to book your tickets click here it will also be live on the WBBL youtube page.

Eadsforth-Yates in Riders Switch

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the addition of guard Jess Eadsforth-Yates to their roster for the rapidly approaching WBBL season.

Eadsforth-Yates had been expected to be competing for the Gloucester City Queens in the upcoming season, however, a change in circumstances has seen her now sign with the Riders while also studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

She will be no stranger to the Riders set-up or Head Coach Krumesh Patel having previously spent time playing for him while at Charnwood College.

A four-year college stint in the US and last season playing at the Newcastle Eagles have preluded her return to the East Midlands, where she is now eager to get started.

“I am really excited to be back playing for the Leicester Riders, this is like a second home to me. The fact that I get to play under Krumesh and Oli again just adds to my excitement. The girls have been very welcoming and I believe we have a really strong group this year, we are all eager to get started.”

Head Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted to link up again with one of his former players:

“I have gone full circle with Jess, having coached her at Charnwood College. To see her do well over in the states was very rewarding and having the chance to bring her back to study for her masters and coach her again is great. She will fit into the group well, she has good speed and a great ability to shoot. Her ability to play defence up the floor gives us another option and dimension. I am delighted to have her back as a Rider.”

In an unrelated move, the Riders have parted company with forward Jade Compton. The club would like to thank Jade for all her hard work and commitment during her time with the Riders and wish her the very best with her future endeavours.

Riders Head To Sweden

Riders women will travel to Sweden for some preseason games. This will be a great opportunity to play some high-quality teams for the women and continue their preparation for the WBBL opener in a few weeks!

The first game will be on Thursday when they face Sodertaile. Sodertaile are one of the top teams who return the Elderbrink Sisters and Louice Halvarsson who have been major players in Europe and the Swedish national team to add to Klara Lundqvist already in the team. They are also coached by former Riders coach Jesper Sundberg.

On Friday, they will travel to play last year’s playoff champions Norrköping, in which it will be another tough game against one of the best. They return a lot of the core plus a few additions and also the return of Swedish national team guard Lovisa Hjern.

Finally, on Saturday Riders will play Boras, a team with good experience and a few fresh faces led by Paula Julin and Elin Ljunggren.

It will be a great and tough experience for a new-look Rider’s team, but something they will embrace and use to fuel the fire for the upcoming season!

We’re Hiring!

We are looking for a Sales Manager to work with our club partners and on our group ticketing offers.

For more information on the role you can access the job description here.

Riders Recruit Sarson

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the addition of Beth Sarson to their WBBL roster ahead of the 2022/23 WBBL Season.

Sarson will be a familiar figure within the league having made over 120 appearances across all WBBL competitions during her four seasons with the Oaklands Wolves and one season at the Essex Rebels. 

Last year with the Wolves she averaged 9.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.3apg &1.9spg in WBBL Championship action and she will add invaluable experience and depth to what will be a very new look Riders backcourt.

“I’m really excited to join the Leicester Riders for the 2022/23 season! I have always loved the way Leicester play and the way Krumesh coaches, so I am thrilled to get the chance to be part of it. I cannot wait to get on court with such a talented group of players and coaches.”

Krumesh Patel is pleased with his side’s latest addition:

“It is great to add Beth to our roster. She is a great teammate, very coachable and comes with good references. She has proven to be a very solid player in the WBBL and has a good stroke from the outside. She will fit in well with the squad and is another British player that really wants to keep developing her game.”

Powell To Step Up For Riders

Leicester Riders are pleased to confirm that GB U18 forward Erin Powell will step up and be part of their roster for the upcoming WBBL Season.

Powell is set to start her second year at Charnwood College having averaged 10.3ppg & 13rpg in the WEABL last season where she was voted Northern Conference U17 Player of the Year. She also made 15 appearances for the Loughborough Riders in WNBL D1 last year.

Powell looked set to be part of the GB U18 team playing in the European Championships in Sofia this summer but unfortunately, a late injury saw her replaced in the squad.

Powell is excited at the prospect of playing WBBL:

“I am super excited for the new season and really looking forward to playing for Coach Krumesh. I’m preparing my best both mentally and physically to succeed. I’m looking forward to meeting and bonding with the new team. It will be great to experience a higher level of basketball as I strive to improve myself as much as possible throughout the season”

Coach Krumesh Patel is looking forward to seeing Powell progress:

“It is always important to support the pathway for younger players. Erin has demonstrated great growth and being with the WBBL squad will allow her to continue that. She had a great summer and impressed the GB coaches. We are looking forward to having her with us because she has a great work ethic, and we are excited to see her continue to grow and develop.”

Brown Becomes A Rider

The Leicester Riders are pleased to announce a further addition to their WBBL roster for the 2022/23 WBBL Season with the signing of 6’3” US/Scottish forward Kirsty Brown.

Brown joins the Riders after graduating from Cal Poly where in her senior year she averaged 8ppg, 6.5rpg & 1.1bpg.

With good size, Brown will give the Riders extra strength in the 4 and 5 positions where her post play and wingspan will be of benefit at both ends of the floor. She has the ability to score inside and from midrange as well as being a tenacious rebounder and disruptive defender.

“Leicester felt like home from the first phone call I received. I am so excited and grateful to be given the opportunity to play in England. I can’t wait to meet my teammates and staff and look forward to becoming a part of the community. Let’s get to work on bringing home a championship. Go Riders!”.

Head Coach Krumesh Patel commented:

“It is really nice to be able to add Kirsty to our team as she is something we were missing. Her size and length will fit in well alongside Ashley. She is mobile and quick which will allow us to play in the style that we want to. She’s another player on this roster with ambition and the drive to keep pushing. I think she will be a great fit for this group”.

Riders Acquire Oliana Squires

The Leicester Riders roster for the 2022/23 WBBL season continues to take shape as the club are pleased to announce the signing of US guard Oliana Squires.

Squires will begin her pro career with the Riders after a four-year college career with Montana State where in her senior year she averaged 11.3ppg, 3.2apg & 1.7spg.

The Colorado native joins fellow new signings Jade Compton & McKenzie Johnston in signing a 2-year deal to combine playing WBBL alongside studying for a masters at Loughborough University.

“It has been a dream of mine to play professionally, and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to play basketball again. I am happy that I have found a team and coach that believe in me and will help me succeed. I look forward to getting back on the court again and having a great season with the Leicester Riders.”

Head Coach Krumesh Patel believes Squires will be a terrific addition for his team:

“Oliana is a great fit for us. She is someone with something to prove. She’s a dynamic guard that can pass and score, so that will complement the other members of our backcourt. She just has a great feel for the game and her personality will fit in perfectly with the Riders.”

Riders WBBL Staff Takes Shape

With preparations well underway for the 2022/23 WBBL Season, the Leicester Riders new Head Coach Krumesh Patel has put the finishing touches to his staff.

He will be ably assisted throughout the coming campaign by three assistant coaches: Kiran Wiltshire, Oli Parr & Nick Moodey.

Kiran Wiltshire is well known within the Riders set up having previously worked for the club for ten years within the Riders Foundation.

She completed her level 3 coaching alongside fellow Riders coaches Krumesh Patel & Will Maynard and has coaching experience with the University of Leicester where she has coached both the Men’s and Women’s 1st Teams.

Coach Patel is delighted to have Kiran join the staff:

“I have known Kiran since I was 14, so to have her with us is great. She has a tone of experience in multiple areas and will be a great person for the players to have around“.

Oli Parr re-joined the club last year as an assistant coach to then Head Coach Marg Jones. He will continue to assist the WBBL team as well as becoming the Head Coach of the Loughborough Riders Women’s Division one team.

He had previously been with the Riders programme for 4 years from 2016 where he advanced from assisting at Charnwood College to leading multiple teams at both the Academy and National League level as well as assisting the WBBL team.

Coach Patel is looking forward to working alongside Oli again.

“I worked with Oli for 4 years and it was an easy decision to have him on the staff. He has developed his coaching a lot and will be a great asset to us for the coming season“.

Nick Moodey will continue as WBBL Assistant Coach having held the same role for previous coaches Jesper Sundberg & Marg Jones. He will also be taking up the position of Women’s Charnwood Academy Head Coach.

Nick is another who has progressed his way through the Riders coaching pathway. Started out in 2018 coaching the Loughborough Women’s 3rd BUCS team and helping with coaching at the Leicester Riders Foundation. In 2021 he was appointed Loughborough Women’s 2nd BUCS Head Coach and Head Coach of the Loughborough Riders Women’s Division one team.

Coach Patel sees Moodey as an important cog in the Riders wheel:

“Nick was great for the programme last year and will be a good link between the WBBL and Charnwood. He is a growing coach and we’re delighted to be part of his development journey “.

Backing up Coach Patel and his assistant coaches will be additional support staff consisting of:

Sam MacGregor – Physio

Jack Clarke – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Adam Collins – Nutritionist

Sara Svoboda – Sports Psychologist

Sanne Hofman – Team Manager / Operations Manager

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented

“We have a great WBBL staff team this year who will help to take our programme to the next level. We continue to provide a high performance, professional environment where our professional women’s players will be able to thrive”.

Johnston Joins Riders

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the signing of US combo guard McKenzie Johnston ahead of the 2022/23 WBBL Season.

Johnston has signed a 2-year deal to play WBBL alongside studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

The exciting guard had a stand-out college career with Montana where she got 1398 points and 515 assists, ranking her 7th and 4th in the program’s history. In her final year, she was voted onto the First-Team All-Big Sky Conference as she led her team in points and assists while being second in boards and steals.

Her pro career was slightly delayed due to covid but last season she played in Germany with Bad Homburg helping her side to promotion while averaging 12.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 5apg & 2.6spg. She shot 58% from the field and 38.5% from three as she finished second in the league for assists and sixth in steals and efficiency.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to go to England and play for the Leicester Riders! The coaches & staff have been nothing but welcoming. Coming off a championship in Germany, it has me excited to get back on court again. I’m very eager to get to work and achieve big things with the team this season.”

Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted to add the latest piece to his team’s roster:

“I’m really excited to have McKenzie join us. She had an excellent college career and then was in Germany last year winning a championship and leading her team to promotion. That sort of experience will be great for us as a team. After speaking with her, I knew she would be a great asset to us and fit in with the style I want this team to play”.

Robb Selected for Commonwealth Games

Everyone at the Leicester Riders would like to wish good luck to Hannah Robb as she prepares to take part in this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Having played for Scotland at every level from U13’s to the senior national team the GB guard is excited to represent her country at a major games, as she competes in the 3×3 basketball which debuts at this year’s games.

Although only 24 years of age Robb has vast experience with over 140 WBBL games under her belt in 6 seasons, amassing upwards of 1200 points in the process.

She will be joined on the Scottish team by London Lions star guard Kennedy Leonard, Caledonia Pride’s Sian Phillips and former Rider Claire Paxton who steps up to take the place of another former Rider Erin McGarrachan who played during the qualifying wins over Wales and Northern Ireland.

Good luck Hannah!

Compton Signs on at Riders

The Leicester Riders continue to build their roster for the 2022/23 WBBL season with the signing of US wing Jade Compton who joins on a 2-year deal while also studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

Jade is a 5’10” forward who is known for playing hard at both ends of the court. She is an efficient scorer with the ability to shoot from the perimeter, as well as being a versatile defender and an aggressive offensive rebounder. This will be her first pro season as she is fresh out of Presbyterian College where last year she averaged 16.2ppg & 6.9rpg shooting 54% from the field and 37% from three.

Compton is excited to get started:

“First and foremost I would like to thank God. He continues to bless me with new opportunities to show my capabilities. My support team is forever strong and I love it. I’m excited to be joining the Leicester Riders and can’t wait to make something special with my new team. The sky is the limit. Let’s go Riders!!”

Coach Krumesh Patel added:

I’m really pleased that we have managed to get Jade to join us. She has good size and the ability to stretch the floor, she’s also a tough defender who can guard multiple positions. She is coming off a good Senior year with Coach Sharp and we’re excited that she has decided to join us for her rookie season. After good conversations, she has great ambitions which is something we are looking for in our players and we’ll do our best to help her achieve her goals.

Robb Returns for Riders

The Leicester Riders are delighted to announce that Great Britain guard Hannah Robb will again be part of their roster for the upcoming 2022/23 WBBL Season.

Robb will embark on a seventh season in the WBBL and a third with the Riders, having previously been a key member of their 2020/21 WBBL Cup winning side.

In the WBBL Championship, last season, her all-action game saw her average 11.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 5apg, 2spg as she was named her team’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“I’m really 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’m looking forward to working with Krumesh and I’m hoping to use my experience to help take the team to the next level. I can’t wait to get started.

I’m looking forward to our new team arriving and I think we will be competitive in what should be an exciting year for us.

Coach Krumesh Patel sees her as a key component in his new lineup:

“It’s a great signing to have Hannah continue with us at the Riders as she has been a standout player for the club over the past couple of seasons. Her ability to stretch the floor is going to be vital for us. I have been lucky enough to work with her at GB Under 20’s and I’m really looking forward to having a full season of coaching her. She is a very motivated and driven individual and just the sort of character we want to push us forward. I’m hopeful that we can help her to continue adding to her game development and to see her grow and thrive throughout the season”.

Arlen Returns to WBBL with Riders

Leicester Riders have begun preparations for the 2022/23 WBBL season with the signing of former League MVP Ashley Arlen (Harris).

Arlen will be well known within the WBBL from a successful three-year spell at the Nottingham Wildcats where she comfortably averaged a double double in each of her seasons, finishing with an average of 21.3ppg and 11.2rpg across her stay in the East Midlands as well as securing both League and Cup Final MVP honours.

After taking a break and becoming a mother, Arlen returned to pro basketball last year, signing, for now, Riders coach Krumesh Patel at Swedish side Wetterbygden Sparks where she averaged 14.8 ppg and 7.9rpg.

With professional experience in Romania, Germany, Spain, Australia as well as the UK, Arlen will bring invaluable expertise and leadership to what will be a much-changed Riders roster this term.

“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to be back in England and playing for the Riders! Last season playing under Krumesh in Sweden was a fantastic opportunity and I knew playing another season for him was something I wanted to do. I am excited to get to work with the team and hope that my experience and love for the game can help us achieve big things this season”

Coach Krumesh Patel is equally excited to continue his working relationship with Arlen:

“I’m really excited to have Ash back in the WBBL. It was nice to have her on the team in Sweden and she did an excellent job considering she had been out for 3 years after having Amaia. I think she will be a tremendous addition to our side as she is a proven scorer and after seeing her last season, I know she still has more to give. She has great leadership qualities, so I am delighted to have her join the Leicester Riders

Further signings will be announced shortly.

Coach Patel is Coming Home

Krumesh Patel will be rejoining his hometown Club as the head coach for the WBBL Riders team and the Loughborough University 1st Team on a three-year Contract. 

Patel has spent the last two years in Sweden as the head coach of the Wetterbygden Sparks. Prior to his stint in Sweden he played a major role in the Riders organisation. After graduating from the University of Leeds, Patel spent nine years at the club starting as a community coach, Head of Academy and then the Head Coach for the WBBL team. In 2018-19 Patel led the WBBL, WEABL and U18 youth programs to a 48-6 record, winning many National Championships including the WBBL Trophy and WEABL.

On his return to the Riders and journey over the last two years, Patel commented: 

“I’m Excited to come back home, it’s been a great couple of years in Sweden! I was able to experience a new style of play against some good teams and coaches so it was a great move and allowed growth. I also had the privilege to meet and work with some really good people which am grateful for and will continue to build on those connections and relationships.”

“A chance presented itself to come back, and the timing was right with other factors falling in line to allow this opportunity to occur.”

“After speaking with Russell, the opportunity to comeback to help move the program forwards and build towards Europe in the long term was extremely appealing!”

Patel finished saying “to be back in my hometown around familiar faces, friends and family is a great feeling.”

Managing Director of the Leicester Riders, Russell Levenston Commented: 

“It is great to have Krumesh return to the club. He was instrumental in building our Women’s programme and we look forward to him returning to take the programme to the next level. He is a very experienced coach who knows our club really well and I believe he is the right person to lead the Riders Women’s programme over the next three years.” 

“He has gained some really valuable experience over the last few years while coaching in Sweden and I believe we are getting an even better coach than when he left two years ago. We both have similar ambitions for the Women’s programme both on and off the court”

Patel’s immediate focus will be to look at recruitment for the 2022-23 season and utilise the off-season months to build the Women’s programme ready for pre-season training starting in August.

Riders Job opportunities

Leicester Riders have some new opportunities to join their programme. We are looking for a Physiotherapist/Sports Therapist, Physiotherapy Internship and four Strength & Conditioning Interns.

Physiotherapist/Sports Therapist
Download job description

Physiotherapy Internship
Download job description

Strength & Conditioning Work Experience/Intern (x4)
Download job description

Riders thank Marg Jones

Marg Jones, who started the season as Women’s Head Coach for the Riders Charnwood Academy, seamlessly stepped in to lead the Riders WBBL programme after the departure of Derrick Washington. Jones brought her vast coaching experience to the WBBL side and led the team through the regular league season to the 2022 play-off quarter-finals against Nottingham Wildcats.

On her reflection of the 2022 season, Jones said:

‘’I’m very proud of the successes of the Women’s program this season, both from a team and individual athlete perspective. The team finishing 4th in the league, in what proved to be one of the most competitive seasons in WBBL league history, was a huge accomplishment.’’

In what can only be described as a challenging start for Jones due to coming in part way through the season, her positivity and developmental focus towards women’s basketball saw Charnwood Academy and Loughborough University students integrated into the fold and cohesion formed in a top-down club approach.

‘’Like all teams, we faced adversity through Covid and untimely injuries and of course this was compounded by the early season coaching change. The athletes responded to each challenge with positivity and professionalism and should be extremely proud of their accomplishments.’’

‘’I am appreciative of the opportunity to have led the Riders Women’s program this past season and will be working closely with athletes and staff to build a succession plan for the 22-23 season.’’ – Marg Jones

In conjunction with taking the reins of the WBBL side, Jones also stepped in as Head Coach for the Loughborough University’s Women’s BUCS 1st team. The team finished their BUCS campaign in the play-offs semi-final against Essex.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented “ I’d like to thank Marg for stepping up and taking on a really important role for us this season. Her passion for the game has really helped us move the women’s programme forward and she is leaving our WBBL and University women’s programme in a much better place than she found it. Marg will now work with the team and new coach to lay the foundations for the future. “

The Leicester Riders would like to thank Marg for taking on the WBBL Head Coach role with short notice and stepping up at a time when the programme needed strong coaching leadership. The club would like to recognise the hard work that has gone into the 2021-22 season WBBL campaign and the passion that Jones brings to the WBBL and `Riders Women’s programme. More announcements to follow, about who will take over the reins for the WBBL and Loughborough University team.

RIDERS 69 – 81 WILDCATS

Sunday’s action saw the Riders take on the Nottingham Wildcats in the first round of the WBBL Playoffs in a win or go home thriller. Both teams fought valiantly and it was the Wildcats who prevailed 81-69. The Riders showed tremendous effort throughout. 

Both Oceana Hamilton and Hannah Robb had 19 points. They were a two headed monster for this Riders team as Hamilton owned the paint on both ends and Robb, who poured in jump shot after jump shot. 

From the start, Nottingham came out hot behind a flurry of long range shots and smothering defense. Nottingham continued throughout the first half on this pace, though the Rider’s defense held the Wildcats to 17 second quarter points in comparison to the first quarters’ 27. 

As the Riders headed to the locker room for half time they trailed 44-28. With their season on the line, the Riders came back out as a team on a mission. They won the third quarter 25-11 to bring the lead to 53-55. For a team that trailed by 19 at one point, their ability to rally and re-enter this game was the antithesis of the heart this team plays with. 

Nottingham was able to rally in the fourth and beat the Riders 81-69. Though their season is over it was far from a failure. When asked about the season head coach Marg Jones said this…

“The league has demonstrated a tremendous amount of parity this season and for our young team to finish top 4 in the standings is a testament to the determination, perseverance and hard work of the players” 

Even though the outcome was not what they had wished for there are no heads down in the Rider’s locker room. They are proud of the basketball they played and played down to the last buzzer. 

Personally, I’ve followed this team for a while and they played this season with passion. Their unselfish identity, defensive versatility and intensity accompanied by a never give up mindset. The Riders had a fantastic season and I can’t wait to see them come back with the same heart next season. 

Congratulations to the Nottingham Wildcats for advancing to the next round of the playoffs, and congratulations to the Riders who played a fantastic season. 

Match report written by Rob Field.

2022 Play-Off tees available Sunday!

Our 2022 Play-off tees are available for collection from 11.30am on Sunday, ahead of the WBBL game against Nottingham Wildcats (at 12pm) and BBL home Play-off Quarter Final versus Plymouth City Patriots (at 4pm).

A huge thank you to our tees sponsors – Jelson Homes, Torr Waterfield, Premier Logistics, Mather Jamie, 5or6, bespoke LED and RDL Technologies for supporting this years’ tees and covering the costs. This generosity means that all donations this year will go to the Riders Foundation.

The tees give a nod to Eric Robertson who sadly passed away this year, with Robertson 22 on the back of the tee.

The club can also confirm that your BBL ticket will also get you into the WBBL fixture. You can buy tickets here.

BBL confirm entertainment for Play- Off Final

With just over two weeks of epic action still to take place on the court to confirm the teams that will be contesting the British Basketball League (BBL) Play-off Finals at London’s 02 Arena, the BBL is delighted to announce the special guest performances that’ll take place during the event.

Concluding an epic season of action with this showpiece event in the capital on Sunday, May 15th , it has been announced that UK artist and producer Ayo Beatz will perform during the half-time show during the BBL Final, and UK dance group Flawless will perform during the interval of the WBBL
Final.

Ayo Beatz has produced records for some of the biggest artists in the world, such as Jason Derulo, Labrinth and Wiley, with his recent hits including ‘Habits’ in collaboration with Wes Nelson. Flawless were finalists of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and have since gone on to develop a leading reputation for their high-energy and exciting performances.

Between both finals will be the BBL Slam Dunk Contest, featuring some of most talented high-flyers in the world, including:

  • 2021 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final Dunk Contest winner, Piotr ‘Grabo’ Grabowski from Poland
  • The best dunker in Britain, Joel ’The Royal Guard’ Henry
  • Europe’s most promising dunking prospect – 21-year-old Bartek Szwed from Poland
  • Leicester Riders’ Chris Yapo, who starred in the BBL Cup Final Dunk Contest

Tickets are continuing to sell fast for this fantastic event in London, and you can get yours at https://bit.ly/3vjdqwO

RIDERS DOUBLE-HEADER WEEKEND

The weekend saw the Riders take on the Sevenoak Suns and Cardiff Met Archers on back to back days. On Friday the Sevenoaks Suns outlasted the Riders with a 62-42 win, but the Riders bounced back on Saturday to defeat the Cardiff Met Archers 88-58.

Against Sevenoaks the Riders struggled from the field, only shooting 22%. Though it should be mentioned that the Rider’s signature defense held the Suns to only 37% from the field. 

The Riders found themselves just behind the Suns throughout the whole game, despite three Riders scoring in double figures they just couldn’t manage to find the bottom of the basket. Three Suns also scored in double figures but they found themselves edging the Riders out and winning the game.

Against the Archers the Riders learnt from their loss. Scoring over double the points they scored against Sevenoaks. They were led by Makana Stone who had 21 points and 7 rebounds. Combine that with beautiful all-around games from the rest of the team and you have the blueprint for a convincing Riders victory. 

They maintained their defensive intensity and used that momentum to propel their offensive games to new heights. When the Riders play like they did on Saturday, they’re near unstoppable. 

Key difference-maker Hannah Robb had a monstrous starling of 7 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and 7 steals! The Riders were clicking on all cylinders. The Riders beat the Archers in every hustle stat. Including 25 bench points to the Archers 9. It was clear from the first quarter that the Riders would have control of the game. 

If this weekend’s action proves anything for this team is that they can learn from their mistakes and always bounce back. Though as the playoffs loom ahead the Riders are going to have to lock in and be the team we know they can be. 

The Riders continue to keep their heads held high. Sitting with a 14-8 record they hold the 4 seed and are definitely a team to look out for come playoff time. Keep the energy up ladies.

Match Report written by Rob Field

RIDERS 75 – 65 EAGLES

Monday Night’s action saw the Newcastle Eagles take on the Leicester Riders at home. This game was defined by defense and hustle from both sides as both teams gave it their all. The Riders were led by Oceana Hamilton (21 Points, 12 Rebounds) and Anna Lappenküper (15 points, 8 Assists).

Immediately after the game started the Riders came out strong, opening with a 19-4 run in the first 6 minutes of play. The Riders were able to use their size advantage to attack the paint behind the dynamic duo of Makana Stone and Oceana Hamilton. The Riders closed out the first quarter leading 20-9. 

In the second quarter, the Rider’s defense was phenomenal, so good in fact the Eagles didn’t score a single field goal into the final seconds of the 2nd quarter. However, the Eagles did find themselves at the foul line quite consistently and managed to score 12 points in the second. 

However, behind a stellar first half from Anna Lappenküper, the Riders scored 26 second quarter points to extend their lead to 25 as they entered halftime 46-21. 

Coming out of halftime the Eagles came out very strong, matching the Riders blow for blow in a contested third quarter. However, behind their early lead, the Riders managed to hold on to their 25 point lead as the fourth quarter approached. 

In the fourth, the Eagles came back quickly attempting to close the lead. Team captain for the Eagles Marina Fernandez Pardo had a quick 10 points in the fourth and cut the Rider’s lead down to a 10 point deficit with 2 minutes left to play.

The Riders were able to bounce back and hold off their opposition as they held them scoreless in the final minutes to hold them off and win the game. The Riders closed the game out with a 75-65 point win. 

Once again the Riders excelled behind their team play with 4 players in double-digit scoring numbers. Their defense was once again locked in and despite the Eagle’s best efforts came out with the win to bring their record to 13-7 on the season. 

Match report written by Rob Field.

RIDERS 91 – 78 WILDCATS

Saturday’s action saw the Leicester Riders take on the Nottingham Wildcats. It was a stellar contest headlined by Leicester’s two-headed monster of Oceana Hamilton (22 points, 8 rebounds) and Hannah Robb (21 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds) who led the way to the win despite Wildcats’ Brooklyn Pannell pouring in 33 points. 

In the first quarter, both teams struggled to gain a lead over the other, going back and forth throughout the first. Oceana Hamilton and Makana Stone both came out quickly for the Riders as they managed to come out of the first quarter with a 19-17 lead.

The second quarter commenced and the Riders began to gain some momentum. Led by Louise Rouse (16 points off the bench) and Hannah Robb came alive to spark some offense. The Riders used their stellar team play on both ends of the floor to climb to a 45-35 point lead going into halftime. 

Coming out of halftime the Wildcats were looking to close the gap and slowly crawled back into the game. Even taking the lead 61-60 with a minute left to play in the third. However, the Riders rallied and came back to take a 64-61 lead with only the fourth quarter remaining. 

As the fourth quarter commenced the Riders looked locked in quickly going on a 6-0 run over the first 3 minutes of play. After establishing a comfortable lead the Riders were able to keep the Wildcats at bay as they held them to only 17 points in the quarter compared to 27 points of their own. 

The Riders edged out the Wildcats to win 91-78. Once again the Riders won as a team with 5 players scoring in double figures and extending their record to 12-7. It was a great game and a great win.

Match report written by Rob Field

RIDERS 80 – 84 REBELS

Sunday’s 5pm action saw the Leicester Riders taking on the Essex Rebel’s at home. It was an intense back and forth battle but ultimately the Rebels came out on top despite the Riders best efforts. 

Star Performers for the Riders include Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus with 16 points and Oceana Hamilton who stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Riders excelled on defense and used their size advantage to dominate the paint, but it was the perimeter shooting of Essex that allowed them to pull ahead and take the win. 

In the first the Riders looked dominant. Springing ahead to a quick 16-6 lead halfway through the first. Essex, however, were able to gather themselves and over the next 5 minutes bring the game back to only a 5 point deficit, 30-25 lead for the Riders as the first quarter closed. 

The second quarter wasn’t very pretty for the Riders as they went scoreless for the first 5 minutes. However, they were able to rally behind their full-court pressure leading points off of turnovers and scored 16 points in the last 5 minutes of the first half. 

However, their drought in the first half of the quarter allowed Essex to gain momentum and take the lead in the half. At Halftime Essex leads by 3, 49-46.

Coming out of halftime both teams seemed rejuvenated on the defensive end, both teams fought for good looks and whenever a team would manage to score it seemed the other would come down and answer with a bucket of their own. 

Despite the best efforts of Makana Stone and Oceana Hamilton in the third Essex managed to hold onto their lead as they entered the fourth quarter ahead by 2, 63-61. 

In the fourth both teams continued their heated battle. But behind Essex’s Ashleigh Munns’ stellar performance from behind the three-point arc, Essex had brought their lead up to 6 with 2:20 left to play, 78-72. 

The Riders called a timeout and came out swinging, behind clutch mid-range shots from Hannah Robb and Anna Lappenküper brought the game within 2 points, but another Ashleigh Munns three-pointer put the Riders down 6 with a minute left to play. 

The Riders were forced to intentionally foul and free throws from the Rebels kept their lead at 6 points with 22 seconds to play. The Riders brought the ball down and Makana Stone hit a clutch contested three with 6 seconds left to play bringing the lead down to 3, but it proved too little too late as they were forced to foul and the Rebels put them away at the free throw line. Essex wins 84-80.

An unfortunate loss for the Riders who were right at the brink of taking this game, but unfortunately there’s only so much time on the clock and Essex were able to outlast the Riders. Phenomenal effort from the Riders women as they look to bounce back against the Wildcats on April 9th. 

Match report written by Rob Field.

PALATINATES 85 – 70 RIDERS

The Leicester Riders took on the Durham Palatinates in a tight, back and forth contest which saw the Riders losing 85-70 after they were unable to answer the second half run of the Palatinates. 

The Riders were off to a quick start in the first, behind good efficiency and a balanced scoring effort they managed to gain a quick lead whilst holding the Palatinates at bay with their stellar team defense. 

The Riders shared the ball well as they attacked the rim. Their team coordination gave them an edge and their first quarter efforts put them up 21-14 as they entered the second quarter. 

The Palatinates opened the second with a run of their own. They came back to tie the game up 29-29 with 4 minutes left to play in the second. In those last 4 minutes, Alison Lewis put up 6 points and a three point dagger by Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus to close the half put the riders up 34-39. 

The third quarter commenced and both teams were looking to make their move to take and maintain a lead. The Palatinates came out quick and tied the game up, both teams took turns going back and forth with the lead. 

If the Palatinates hit a three, the Riders would come down and match it with one of their own. However, the Palatinates pulled ahead in the last 2 minutes of the third to put them up 61-56 behind a flurry of three point shots. 

Going into the fourth a quick Makana Stone layup and Alison Lewis 3 pointer tied the game up with 8 minutes to play in the fourth. Both teams again took turns fighting for the lead and tied the game 3 more times in the fourth. 

Both teams went scoreless from the 5 minutes mark till the 3:30 mark when the Palatinates began a scoring onslaught to take a commanding lead and finish the game strong. They were led by Goretti Hurtado Barbeito who had 25 points and Katie Bennet who had 18 points and 12 assists. 

The final buzzer sounded with a score of 85-70, but don’t let the final score fool you. This game was tied until the final 3 minutes when one team’s shots fell and the others didn’t. The Riders put up a great fight. Alison Lewis had 15 points off the bench and another double double from Oceana Hamilton headlined the Rider’s efforts. 

It was a tough loss, but a good fight. Go get ’em next time Riders!

Match Report written by Rob Field

RIDERS v WOLVES DOUBLEHEADER

The Leicester Riders and Oaklands Wolves faced a double header this weekend, one game played in each teams respectives arena’s. Both times though the Riders came out on top in convincing fashion behind the Riders unselfish offense and phenomenal defense. 

In their first face off the Riders took off, coming out with a 12-0 run in the first 5 minutes of play. From the moment the game started the Riders simply just executed better on both ends of the floor. Using their smart defensive rotations and fluid ball movement to solidify a lead against the Wolves. As they exited the first quarter with a 20-9 lead. 

The second quarter was more of the same. As the Riders again kept their foot on the gas, once again holding the Wolves scoreless for the first four and a half minutes of second quarter action. The wolves managed to put together a run of their own and try to close the gap against the Riders, but back to back three’s from Emihear Morris and Brooklynn Mcalear helped to stop their run and let the Riders sit comfortably going into the half with a 37-26 point lead. 

The third quarter commenced some back and forth action between both teams. The Riders attacked the paint and picked up extra points at the free throw line to hold the Wolves back despite their success from behind the three point arc. The Riders shot 9/9 from the free throw line in the third and success at the rim helped to elevate their lead even further to 58-39 as they entered the fourth quarter. 

The fourth quarter was all Riders as their offense clicked and they poured in 25 fourth quarter points compared to the Wolves 8. Everyone was hitting their shots and their defense was once again phenomenal. If this team has demonstrated anything it’s that they are a solid unit. Their ability to put ego aside and all work together with the goal to win is stellar to watch. 

5 Riders scored in double figures and Oceana Hamilton notched another double double with a 12 point 12 rebound effort. Brooklyn Mcalear once again proved herself as a floor general as she put up 15 points 8 assists and 3 steals. Overall a fantastic effort for the Riders, as they headed back home to face the Wolves once again.

With only a night’s rest both teams geared up and prepared to face each other once again. And once again it was the Riders who propelled ahead and took charge of this game. The Rider’s dominated behind both Oceana Hamilton and Hannah Robb’s double doubles. 

The first quarter was a more contested contest, both teams went shot for shot as they traded baskets up into the halfway point of the first. The Riders composed themselves and found their groove, as they began to take the momentum and close out the first quarter on top 17-12 for the Riders.

The second quarter was highlighted by the defense of the Riders as they continued to get stops and make their shots at the other end. The rim was wide open for the Riders as three’s, two’s and free throws continued to find the bottom of the rim behind 22 second quarter points. Their efforts extended their lead to 14 as they entered the half leading 39-25.

Third quarter action was more of the same as the Riders came out with a flurry of jump shots and defensive stops. Once again the Rider’s ball movement and unselfish culture fueled their efforts and helped them to build and maintain their lead. They poured in 24 points this quarter and held the Wolves to 7. Putting them up 31 as they entered the fourth, 63-32.

In the fourth the Riders held onto their lead and continued to operate as a fine tuned machine. Scoring 19 points and holding the Wolves to 9. It was again the whole team that worked together to win the game, 82-41. 

Both games this weekend the hustle, discipline and execution of the Riders propelled them ahead in back to back contests. It was a phenomenal display of teamwork and coaching. Excellent wins, Riders!

Match report written by Rob Field

RIDERS 57-SUNS 74

Sunday’s Trophy Semi Final saw the Leicester Riders take on the Sevenoak Suns in a gritty, defensive minded game that was decided by both teams ability to defend the other. It was well fought but the Rider’s couldn’t overcome the Suns and lost the game 74-57.

The Game began on equal footing. It was evident that the Suns were focusing their defensive efforts on slowly down Oceana Hamilton as she was quickly doubled whenever she received the ball in the post. The Suns came out fast using off ball screens along with their size advantage to attack the rim and gain a quick advantage. 

The Riders managed to stay close and with a three to beat the first quarter buzzer by team captain Anna Lappenkuper the Riders found themselves only facing a 5 point deficit going into the second with a score of 18-13. 

The second quarter again opened as a defensive battle, both teams being scoreless in the first 2 minutes of play, but once the Suns got one to fall the others followed as they went on a quick 9 point run to pull further ahead of the Riders. The Riders had no answer on offense and found themselves struggling to score

Their defense was great and their offensive movement was beautiful but unfortunately the shots just weren’t falling for the riders as they fell behind 18, as the Suns led 39-21 going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime the Riders were looking to build momentum and begin to chip away at the lead but they were matched by the scoring of the Suns. The Suns perimeter shooting helped them to build their lead as they marched through the 3rd quarter. 

The Riders were attacking inside and the Suns were attacking on the perimeter which allowed them to build their lead even more to 25 points going into the fourth.

The Riders girls never go out without a fight and began to storm back into this game in the fourth, quick back to back three’s for Hannah Robb. The Riders took this spark of momentum and pushed the game all the way back to a 12 point deficit. They left it all out on the floor and after a Suns timeout they came back and began to execute once again on offense and retake the game.

Through a barrage of perimeter shooting from the Suns the Riders were put away. Losing the game 74-57. However the girls should keep their head high, it was a tough match and well fought. The Riders forced more turnovers, had more points off turnovers and more second chance points but the shots just weren’t falling, but these girls always come back.

Watch the Riders in action on Sunday 4pm as they take on Oaklands Wolves. Buy Tickets Here

Match report written by Rob Field