Winterburn wanting to find another level in new…
One of the most exciting young talents in British Basketball
played a starring role in one of the most incredible stories of the last WBBL
season, but now Holly Winterburn wants even more for herself and the mighty London
Lions as the new campaign approaches.
London get their campaign underway with a double-header against
the Oaklands Wolves and Sevenoaks Suns this weekend and Winterburn, whose
highlights have been all over social media this summer from the Lions’
pre-season campaign and her work with renowned Skills Coach Gary Maitland, is
eager to get going as she reflected on her and the team’s growth last year.
“Last year we had a new roster come in, it was our first
time in EuroCup and it was all very new, so there was a lot of figuring out to
do, but from that first qualifier in Crystal Palace we just went from strength
to strength and got to a really good place as a team. We learnt so much, grew
every single game and put good foundations in place, so this year we just want to
“I was pleased (with my own performances), but I think I struggled
to put together the performances I’d have wanted to do consistently, and that
is something I’ve worked on a lot since and will continue to do so. It was a
huge year of growth for me, so I hope to take that to another level this year.
“I’ve concentrated on levelling up in every single area over
the summer. From developing the consistency of my shot, to working on improving
my scoring in every different way so that I can take whatever the defence gives
me. Practice makes perfect so if I keep putting the work in then I’ll be full
of confidence going into the games.”
“When it comes to EuroCup we have ambitions to go as
far as possible.”
It has been a whopping 512 days at the time of writing since
the Lions last tasted defeat in the WBBL, and with the roster reigning WBBL
Coach of the Year Mark Clark has built for the forthcoming campaign, London
will be expected to be the team to beat again this season.
Winterburn discussed how she sees the challenges that lay ahead
for the team in the coming weeks, as well as their longer-term ambitions for
the campaign and her belief that this current roster is much-improved to last
“The biggest challenge for us last year was to keep our performances
at our level, so that will be a big focus for us in the next month of games in
the WBBL before we go into Europe. We need to keep ourselves accountable and
make sure that we play at our highest level possible regardless of who we’re
“When it comes to EuroCup, we have ambitions to go as far as
possible and reach the final eight or final four, so we just have to keep
building towards that.
“We have a lot more size this year. We’ve recruited really
well to bring in some great new players that have brought a lot to the team and
we’ve got a bit of everything so I feel we’re a lot better than last year as a
“I’m grateful for the experience that we had with her.”
The Lions will be without one of their biggest stars and an
all-time basketball great this season as the Olympian Jo Leedham-Warner has
retired after helping lead London to their all-conquering campaign last year. Winterburn
discussed the impact the Great Britain legend had on the team during her 12
months in the capital, and how the team will look to build on her legacy.
“Jo is Jo and she’s had an amazing career, but we aren’t the
same player so all I could do last year is take what makes her great as a
player and learn as much as I could from that for my own game. She’s one of the
toughest players to ever play the game, so I tried to take that to my game and
so did the whole team.
“If any of us miss a box-out or anything like that, we know
it isn’t good enough, and that relentless attitude that we learnt from Jo is
something that will stay with the Lions forever now, because she set that
culture and we’re going to continue it.
“We’ll miss her toughness, the example she set and her
leadership, but that means people like me need to grow into leaders. I’m
grateful for the experience that we had with her, and we’re going to take her
The Lions tip-off their WBBL Championship defence on Saturday September 24 against Oaklands Wolves before welcoming the Sevenoaks Suns to the Copper Box on Sunday September 25 for a rematch of last season’s Play-off and Trophy Finals. You can watch the Lions, and every WBBL team, in action live and for free on the WBBL YouTube channel.