WBBL newbies Durham Palatinates continue to go to work in preparation for their first WBBL season by landing Great Britain international, Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby.
Having now graduated from Lafayette in the NCAA after four years Stateside and having also played for GB at EuroBasket Women 2015 Final Round during that time, the centre is ready to make her WBBL debut.
Her presence will help Durham compete under the hoop and Head Coach, Lee Davie is looking forward to coaching his new arrival.
He said: “It’s great to welcome Harriet to both Durham University and the Durham Palatinates. We hope Harriet leads the way for many more British players over the years looking to continue their studies, while playing professional basketball here in Durham.
“Being involved in the National Teams programmes over the last ten years, I have followed the development of our nation teams players closely. Working with Harriet over this past month has shown me first hand how bright the future is for British Basketball.
“We are working very hard in preparation for both the start of the season & also Harriet’s continued development ahead of the both GB Senior Women’s programme and England Commonwealth Team.
“Harriet has developed physically and mentally since we last worked together,” added Coach Davie.
“In her time at Lafayette, she has matured into confident out going young woman, who cares very much for her teammates both on and off the court. Her mobility and ability to change ends of the floor quickly will allows use her in a variety of situations. I’ve been really impressed with Harriet’s work ethic and determination since arriving into training camp. Building upon the hard works she’s put in over the summer, we’ve continued to add to her offensive game, which I’m sure will catch people off guard.”
The player herself commented: “I first met Coach Davie in London during 2012. We had both been put forward by GB Basketball to be part of the Olympic Ambition programme in 2012 and found ourselves sharing an exciting experience. I didn’t forget our conversations then, about having both athletic and academic ambitions, for example, and he remembered them too.
“The way Lee coaches, I know that he cares about the success of the team, but also that he wants me as an individual to develop into the best player I can possibly be. This feels like a wonderful opportunity at a great place of learning.
“To be in at the birth of something new is always exciting and I’m looking forward to getting started as part of Durham’s first WBBL team! Clearly, it’s going to be a process of learning and developing for us all. I hope a lot of people will be watching and wondering so that, despite our lack of experience in the league, we can show them that we are here to compete.
“First of all, I’m a very determined person and I want my team to know they can always rely on me to get out and do my best. I captained my college team and one thing I think this has taught me is to be a teammate who helps everyone work together. I also hope they’ll enjoy my company and find the same things funny that I do,” continued Ottewill-Soulsby.
“One great thing about basketball is that it brings people from all over the world to work together. My team mates are going to be important to me. They bring different experiences to the court, both as players and people, and it is good to see that we are already working out how that is going to gel as a team. We are challenging each other, but also looking out for each other, and that’s a very healthy environment.
“My studies are important to me and I think that combining International Relations and basketball is a great fit. Obviously, that’s going to be a challenge because I want to do proper justice to both. Universities are great places, though, for support and encouragement and I think that, once I’ve got my support network in place, I’ll be able to make it work.
“Who wouldn’t be excited about being back in Britain, playing under the eye of GB Basketball in the run up to the Commonwealth Games? I’m working hard with Lee to fight for my spot!”