With a change from international summer qualification fixtures to windows during the next two club seasons, it means EuroBasket Women 2017 qualifying already looms large on the horizon – in November to be precise. Consequently a good start to the 2015-16 campaign in terms of form and fitness will be a significant boon for all the contenders – along with other players looking to stay on the wider list and GB radar.
Ella Clark knows the league well from her time at CD Zamarat and she has now moved to Gernika Bizkaia, where she will link up with her GB team-mate Rachael Vanderwal, who is preparing to embark on a second season with the Basque club.
As Clark exits the town of Zamora, Eilidh Simpson arrives to continue flying the British flag after penning a deal to play her rookie pro-season at CD Zamarat, which is situated a couple of hours outside of Madrid.
Elsewhere in Spain, Azania Stewart will suit up for Campus Promete in the city of Logrono where GB played a warm-up tournament prior to EuroBasket Women 2015 earlier this year. The centre returns to Liga Femenina having briefly played in the division earlier in her career.
There is also British representation from another baller in the capital, after former Barking Abbey forward Jamila Thompson signed for Cref Hola Madrid in the wake of her graduation from Drexel.
With Stewart having moved on from Pinkk Pesci 424 in Hungary, there will still be a British presence at the club this season after Chantelle Handy opted to head there.
Whether Dominique Allen gets to play in EuroCup Women hinges on her new club Flying Foxes Vienna winning a qualifying tie later this month.
Johannah Leedham wasn’t able to participate earlier this summer and she will be GB’s sole performer in EuroLeague Women again this season, after signing a contract extension with the highly respected Tango Bourges Basket of France.
Nearer to home, several players will be stepping out for the second season of the WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League) next month at a very special weekend launch at Loughborough University on the 17 and 18 October. The irrepressible Stef Collins will continue in a player-coach role at Cardiff Met Archers, while Georgia Jones and Erin McGarrachan are driving Leicester Riders– along with a number of U20 players, including the likes of Mollie Campbell and Robyn Lewis.
Helen Naylor and Steph Gandy are expected to headline the all-conquering Sheffield Hatters once again, while 2014-15 WBBL Young Player of the Year and one of the big talents for the future in Savannah Wilkinson should be back on board with Barking Abbey Crusaders.
Looking further afield, Nicole How will once again play with Sydney Uni Flames in the highly regarded WNBL in Australia. Across the Pond in the NCAA, both Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott and Janice Monakana will continue alongside each other with Toledo and Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby will resume her career at Lafayette.
Meanwhile having graduated from the prestigious Harvard, EuroBasket Women 2015 standout Temi Fagbenle is continuing her education at the University of Southern California.
Great Britain will play Albania, Italy and Montenegro during qualification for EuroBasket Women 2017, with venue and ticket information to be confirmed in the near future.
Source: GB Basketball