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

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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.