In her words – London Lions star Jo Leedham-Warner…
Ahead of the season-ending WBBL Play-off Finals, we caught up with London Lions’ Jo Leedham-Warner who contributed this special column looking ahead to the event.
I’m super proud of our team. When we put this group together
people obviously had their expectations and opinions, but what I’ve been so
proud of is how we’ve grown and played every game at our absolute best level.
We’ve not cruised or taken it easy in any game, we’ve given
our best every night and respected every team because they all deserve to face
us at our best and fans of the league deserve to see us at our best. We’ve
played hard in every game and taken huge strides.
What we’ve done this year has certainly helped put British
Basketball on the map in Europe. I’ve spoken to a lot of former teammates and
people I know in the game in Europe and they’ve all said ‘you guys are pretty
good’ with a tone of surprise in their voice, in a good way!
We’re trying to show that Women’s Basketball is here in
Britain and that we are moving in the right direction. We have great young
players coming through, we have established talent all over the world, and we
want to inspire other young girls that they can do this and be like us.
We know we’re in for a real challenge against Sevenoaks
today. They’re a great team and every time we play them the game is completely
different, so it is hard to know what to expect.
The Suns are so experienced and they’re going to throw the
kitchen sink at us, so we’re looking forward to another great game between two
teams that play with huge passion and energy.
Last time we played them at Surrey Sports Park it was a
great game of basketball – really close – and although we won the game, I’m
sure they’ll have enjoyed such a great match as well, so I’m looking forward to
doing it all again on such a big stage in front of a big crowd.
I feel like my whole career I’ve been a pretty humble
person, but I feel like this year I’m definitely going to get to the end of the
season and say it: I’m so proud of myself!
Motherhood is so hard and trying to come back after having a
baby and finding yourself again as an athlete and a person and getting back
into the game without putting pressure on yourself, it has been so hard, but
such a rewarding experience.
When I finish games and my daughter is there it is just so
special, and it puts everything into perspective too. You don’t have as long to
complain or be down about games because it is straight back to motherhood, but
having your kid there – especially as she’s a girl – is so special to me, and I
hope I’m paving the way for her to show that women can do whatever they want.
We’re strong, whatever we put our minds to we can do it, and
it just means so much more having her on the sidelines – this experience is
something that is going to stay in my heart forever.