2023-24 WBBL Power Rankings #1 - Leading teams start strong - Hoopsfix.com

2023-24 WBBL Power Rankings #1 – Leading teams start strong

The 2023-24 Women’s British Basketball League season is finally underway with all 11 teams in action over the opening weekend.

There’s a different look to the league this year with Sevenoaks Suns withdrawing and Helen Naylor not the player wearing the number nine jersey for Sheffield Hatters, but it promises to be an exciting campaign if the off-season moves are anything to go by.

Pre-season rankings: 1 – Lions, 2 – Gladiators, 3 – Riders, 4 – Rebels, 5 – Hatters, 6 – Wolves, 7 – Palatinates, 8 – Giants, 9 – Eagles, 10 – Archers, 11 – Wildcats

These rankings are determined by several factors including both recent results and upcoming schedule and are just the opinion of the writer.

➖ [1] 1: London Lions (1-0)

No surprise here. London are already making their mark in Europe and come off the back of winning all four domestic trophies last season, with an even stronger looking roster. They were without Karlie Samuelson, Megan Gustafson, Abby Meyers and Cheridene Green for their league opener and still racked up 100+ points in beating top-four hopefuls Essex.

Savannah Wilkinson last played in the league in 2017 pre-college and led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds with Holly Winterburn adding a 13-9-6-5 statline in the 28-point victory. London’s next league game is not scheduled until mid-late November, meaning full focus will be on continuing their EuroCup charge.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅
Next up – (A) v Newcastle Eagles – CH – 18th November

➖ [2] 2: Caledonia Gladiators (1-0)

Caledonia were the only team to beat London in domestic action last season, and their ambitions have resulted in a first venture into Europe. An opening league win over Durham came in the middle of two EuroCup victories, as they powered their way to a 55-point success – setting the tone with a 24-3 opening quarter.

Young Ukrainian Yevheniia Putra top scored with 19 points in a balanced offence with plenty of weapons, including the return of Laken James, who made the WBBL Team of the Year in the 2021-22 season. The Gladiators have their first road test this weekend when they make the trip to take on Newcastle.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅
Next up – (A) v Newcastle Eagles – CH – 28th October

➖ [3] 3: Leicester Riders (1-0)

It’s very much a new look for the Riders following their effort of making all three finals last season. Ben Stanley has taken the reins from the departing Krumesh Patel, while it’s just McKenzie Johnston and Jess Eadsforth-Yates back from the core senior group.

The new additions are exciting, however, and hit the ground running in the opener with Rayven Peeples contributing 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, while Taylor O’Brien also tallied a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds. An intriguing clash away at Oaklands awaits for their next encounter.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅
Next up – (A) v Oaklands Wolves – CH – 28th October

 [4] 4: Essex Rebels (0-1)

Essex retained the large majority of their roster from last season, bolstered by a British spine, but have made some moves as well – headlined by the arrival of GB sharpshooter Renee Busch. It’s difficult to read too much into an early showdown with the reigning champions, but there were bright moments even in a 28-point loss.

Dayzsha Rogan looked promising in a 17-point effort with the Rebels also without Daniella Turner and Ashleigh Munns for the opener. They will have a chance to get into the win column on Saturday when they head to face the Wildcats.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎
Next up – (A) v Nottingham Wildcats – CH – 28th October

 [5] 5: Sheffield Hatters (1-0)

Statement made from the Hatters on the opening weekend. They poured in 104 points in a free-flowing display against Nottingham with an all-around offence showing out. Madison Washington led the way with 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks with seven players in double figures.

Desiree Ramos came off the bench to add an extra bit of flair and looks to be one to watch this season with an ability to fill up the highlight reels. The depth is there too for the Hatters, something they have perhaps lacked in recent seasons so don’t expect them to remain as low as fifth for long.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅
Next up – (A) v Durham Palatinates – CH – 28th October

[6] 6: Oaklands Wolves (1-0)

A huge contrast to this stage last season as Oaklands were relying on their academy players, whilst waiting for reinforcements to arrive. This time, however, they’ve got their business in early with a number of exciting additions including the veteran experience of Julia Koppl.

American forward Caterrion Thompson posted 18 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists in a strong 24-point victory away at Cardiff in the season opener. They welcome the Riders in their next game which will be a good early indicator of what we can expect from them this season.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅
Next up – (H) v Leicester Riders – CH – 28th October

[7] 7: Durham Palatinates (0-1)

In typical fashion, Durham revealed their roster just days away from the start of the season and they have brought back a number of players from last season including the star duo of Elle Hendershot and Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby.

Janika Griffith Wallace – one of the newcomers – top scored with 20 points as the Palatinates were soundly beaten away at Caledonia. Their schedule does not get any easier as they take on Sheffield this weekend, but they should be there or thereabouts come playoffs contention by the end of the season.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎
Next up – (H) v Sheffield Hatters – CH – 28th October

⬆️ [9] 8: Newcastle Eagles (1-0)

The Eagles always seem to be troubled by injury issues at this time of year in recent seasons. But they managed to start off the new campaign with victory away at Manchester. Katie Nolan is one of several returning players and the American posted a stellar double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

Marina Fernandez weighed in with 17 points and seven assists with Abby Lowe also in double figures with 12. Newcastle face a major test at the weekend when they welcome the visit of high-flying Caledonia with an early chance to see how they match up against one of the league’s best.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅

Next up – (H) v Caledonia Gladiators – CH –28th October

⬇️ [8] 9: Manchester Giants (0-2)

The Giants were inside the top eight in our pre-season poll, but a less than ideal opening weekend saw them drop games to Leicester and Newcastle. Having one of the all-time WBBL greats Georgia Anderson back is no doubt a major boost, especially for some of the younger players on the roster.

Manchester kept pace with the Riders in the first half, tied at 40-40, but fell to an eventual 27-point loss before a similarly costly second half at home to the Eagles saw them lose by 12, despite a 22-point effort from the returning Lauren Thomas-Johnson. An 0-2 start, but this definitely won’t be a one-win team this season.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎❎
Next up – (H) v Cardiff Met Archers – CH – 29th October

[10] 10: Cardiff Met Archers (0-1)

Shannon Hatch and Lauren Saiki are huge absences on the Archers roster this season. The two stars seem irreplaceable, but Stef Collins will be hoping the new trio of Haylee Saurette, Mandi Kawah and Jenna Hoschouer can make similar impacts.

It was a tough start in their season opener at home to Oaklands as they eventually went down to a 24-point defeat with their offence struggling to fire. They were held to 28% shooting from the floor and will need that to improve as they look to bounce back on the road against the Giants on Sunday.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎
Next up – (A) v Manchester Giants – CH – 29th October

[11] 11: Nottingham Wildcats (0-1)

The Wildcats came up against strong opposition in their first game on the road and were no match for the red-hot Hatters. Jess Wayne appeared to be a smart pickup in the summer, but the Wildcats roster looks quite thin with further reinforcements potentially on the way.

One thing Nottingham have been synonymous with is having an elite big: see Ashley Arlen, Jasmine Joyner and Kennedy Nicholas. Next in line is Brooke Bjelko and the rookie made a promising start with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The development of Abbey Whitehouse will be another thing worth keeping an eye on.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎
Next up – (H) v Essex Rebels – CH – 28th October

All fixtures subject to change and according to official website.

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