Newcastle Eagles are to take over the Northumbria WBBL franchise.

It saves the Women’s British Basketball League team from extinction following Northumbria University’s decision to pull out to professional sport.

The side will be rebranded with the name of its new parent club and is expected to retain Chris Bunten as head coach.

“As soon as we heard about Northumbria’s decision to cut its successful national league programme we wanted to do everything in our power to save the women’s basketball team,” said Eagles’ owner Paul Blake.

“It came at a challenging time for everyone associated with the club with the new Eagles Community Arena just months away from opening.

“But with the support of the Eagles Community Foundation and trusted business partners from across the North East we have found a solution that secures the future of WBBL basketball on Tyneside.

“Following the success of the England national team at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year there has never been a better time to grow the sport and we are confident the region’s basketball community will get behind the new team.

“Right now we are talking to the coaching staff about putting together a competitive roster that is ready to make its mark in the WBBL.”

It is understood no deal has been reached to take on the pre-existing men’s team in NBL Division One which will now formally fold.

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