Sheffield Hatters duo relishing new season after re-signing for club

Helen Naylor, right, in action against big rivals  Nottingham Wildcats last season. Photo: Ian Anderson

Helen Naylor, right, in action against big rivals Nottingham Wildcats last season. Photo: Ian Anderson

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The all-conquering Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters have re-signed an experienced star and a rising one for the 2015-16 WBBL season.

Versatile forward Helen Naylor was a driving force for the WBBL treble winners and is set to be a pivotal figure as they they tip-off the defence of their WBBL Championship, WBBL Trophy and WBBL Play-Off titles.

Hatters' England youth international Georgia Gayle

Hatters' England youth international Georgia Gayle

And 18-year-old England youth international Georgia Gayle is also back on the roster.

Doncaster-born Naylor, one of the leading players during the maiden WBBL season averaging a fabulous 19.4 points per game, said: “I’m really excited to be back playing at Sheffield and for the second season of the WBBL,” said Naylor.

“Last year was great for women’s basketball and I can only see the league going from strength to strength.

“As a team, we had a great season last year and won a number of trophies.

“We have a lot of familiar faces returning and having this core group has always been important for us, but we will also have a number of changed faces this year too - we’re bringing in some great players who I’m excited to play alongside!”

She continued: “We will certainly be looking to build on the success of last season, looking to improve every week and of course the goal is to always try and win more silverware.

“The incentive of getting to play alongside the men’s BBL Play-Off Final at the end of the season at the The O2 is definitely going to make it even more competitive and that’s ultimately where we want to be in May.

“I’m also super excited about being back on the court and I am really looking forward to the opening weekend in Loughborough where we will take on Cardiff Met Archers,” added Naylor.

Highly talented teenager Gayle enjoyed a highly impressive maiden campaign last year and contributed a string of cameo performances as Hatters landed several pieces of silverware.

Gayle logged an eye-catching 18 minutes per game last season in the WBBL Championship, which underlined the scale of her contribution.

“It’s good to be back after a great season last year,” she said after confirming her return. “I am looking forward to hopefully playing in more big arenas and the team going unbeaten.

“We have another strong roster this year, so being able to re-sign and play with such a talented team will keep pushing me to improve even more,” added Gayle.

The WBBL season launch is at Loughborough on October 17 and 18 with Hatters facing Cardiff on the Sunday at 3.15.