Jo Leedham’s next move after motherhood? Coming home, to play in the UK.

The Great Britain guard is returning from the USA to join London Lions with a debut in the WBBL and an excursion in the EuroCup pending.

The veteran of so many GB’s successes is arguably the biggest name to ever feature in the Women’s British Basketball League.

And she will be joined by 2012 Olympic team-mate Azania Stewart who, as widely flagged, will switch from Leicester following her unexpected exit from retirement midway though last term.

Also joining the Lions for the first time is British guard Leah McDerment while head coach Mark Clark has pulled off his pursuit of three-time WBBL Young Player of the Year, Holly Winterburn, who is to leave Leicester despite signing an announced three-year deal there last summer..

Returning to the team are some of last year’s players who drove the Lions to claim victory in last year’s championship. Continuing to lead the team on their winning trajectory, Shanice Beckford-Norton will return as captain after being awarded the Championship Final MVP and scoring 30 points in the championship game, setting a WBBL play-off final record.

Other returning local talent include London-born guard Chantel Charles, forward Paige Robinson, and leading point guard Kennedy Leonard, who last season broke the WBBL single-game record for most assists (21).

US-born forward Stephanie Umeh and guard Cassie Breen also make return appearances, as well as Austrian forward Valentina Klocker , following their contributions to the Lions’ championship-winning 2020-21 season.

Up-and-coming talent arrives for their first season with the team with British guard Neve Marvill, Grace Strickland, and forward Chenai Mushore, while familiar faces British guard Fatmata Janneh and Nicole Lavinier return.

Clark said: “The new roster builds on the great progress we made last year. The team performed extraordinarily well as a collective last season, and we’re going to be coming into this year with all of the focus, energy and determination that drove us to claim the 2020-21 championship title. We’ve got a lot of power here and we’re setting our sights high.

“It’s very exciting to be able to continue this journey with such talented players and continue working to put a London club on the European map.”

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