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!” 

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.

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!

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!

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!”

“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