New faces join plenty of familiar ones at Oaklands Wolves as they get set for new WBBL season
PUBLISHED: 12:51 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 16 September 2019
Lee Ryan is looking to use a summer of adversity at Oaklands Wolves as the catalyst for a rebirth - and hopes the new faces at the Women's British Basketball League side make a big impact.
A fire at the club's Oaklands College base has had a huge impact on the young side but the head coach says the signings made will help lift the spirits.
He said: "The fire has made it a tough summer but we can look at it as a chance too reset, build our exciting partnerships and learn from our first phase as a franchise.
"We now kick on with a group of players that are ready to commit everything to the Wolfpack."
Experienced six-foot Australian forward Elyse Kiploks leads the incoming players and is joined by Canadian international Claire Abbott, both getting a first taste of basketball in Europe with the Wolves.
Kiploks said: "The WBBL is completely new to me but I know it's a league that's growing and getting better each year so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Abbot added: "I'm coming ready to make the most of this opportunity and I'll be giving everything to the Wolves.
"Being in a programme with academy players I want to bring my leadership and show the girls what we can all achieve with good energy and a positive attitude."
Ryan said: "Elyse is exactly the player we have been looking for to move us forward this year. Her character is outstanding and her ability to contribute all over the court at both ends is important for our progression.
"Claire fits our approach perfectly and is hungry to get better. She'll be a great addition to our team."
Oaklands have also retained the majority of last year's squad including leaders Lizzie Harrison and Lauren Milligan
"We have progressed each year so far, so I'll be doing everything to make sure that trend continues," stated Harrison.
"This new group is learning fast and we have clicked already. There's a long way to go, but I'm loving how we've started."
Milligan said: "Making the playoffs last year gave us a small taste of success which we will look to build on this season."
Dorka Boros, Anneke Schluter and Kata Fulop have also been retained while Ryan will make full use of Oaklands junior player development platform with Khia Lee, Fionnuala Wharton, Louise Rouse, Jodie Leavold and Grace Ashton all elevated to the senior squad from the WEABL side.
Oaklands start the season in the WBBL Trophy on Friday, September 27, against Leicester Riders at the University of Essex.