Cardiff Met Archers get their 2020-21 season underway on Saturday with player-coach Stef Collins looking forward to the new campaign.
The GB legend took to the sidelines as assistant coach during the Senior Women’s victory over Poland last weekend, but now returns full focus to the Archers.
“It feels great to finally get the season underway,” Collins told Hoopsfix. “We started pre-season in late August, so I know everyone is excited to play our first official game.
“The current pandemic has certainly created various restraints but we have stayed focused and are very grateful to be competing again.”
The Archers were loitering outside of the playoff spots – with games in hand – when the 2019-20 WBBL Championship campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic back in March.
And, they have brought back the majority of last season’s roster with the chance to improve upon their 4-10 league start last season.
Cristina Bigica, Sara Jorgensen and Mara Marchizotti all averaged in double figures in scoring last year with the Archers’ depth likely to reflect on the scoresheet with an expansive mix of youth and experience.
“We have the bulk of our returning squad from last season which creates great continuity for us, ” said Collins. “However, we’re aware a significant amount of time has been spent away from competition so we must stay focused, ensuring we maintain a pace that suits our style of play and compete in every possession.
“Everyone has the ability to step up when needed as a lot of our scoring is considerably balanced depending on the game – our success will come from staying composed, confident, and without sounding like a broken record, competitive.”
Cardiff face an opening test away at Oaklands Wolves on Saturday in the first game of the South Group in the Cup with Collins expecting a tough challenge.
“Oaklands are tenacious and aggressive at both ends of the floor,” she said. “They have a nice mix of returners from last season as well as some great scoring additions in [Amari] Carter and [Merisa] Quick.”
Elsewhere in the WBBL, Leicester Riders host Nottingham Wildcats on Saturday, while Sevenoaks Suns travel to BA London Lions and Newcastle Eagles welcome Manchester Mystics on Sunday.
Brad has been a writer for Hoopsfix since 2014 and has also had freelance roles at the BBL and with FIBA – working at two Women’s EuroBasket tournaments. Contact: [email protected]