One of the WBBL’s most consistent performers has committed her future to Newcastle Eagles despite a flurry of interest from the continent.
Point guard Giulia Simioni skippered the team last season during a transitional campaign that saw Chris Bunten’s side move to the new Eagles Community Arena.
And the coveted playmaker was crowned Newcastle’s WBBL Most Valuable Player of the Year as the club’s go-to ball handler and most creative backcourt star.
“This will be Giulia’s last season with the Eagles as she completes her Masters degree at Northumbria University,” said Bunten.
“I’m delighted that she’s back as she drives everything that we do.
“There was a lot of responsibility on Giulia’s shoulders last season and when injuries to senior players affected us she was always there.
“I’m hoping to sign players who will ease that pressure on her this season and allow her to play more of her natural game.
“I’m excited to see how Giulia fits in to the new team and looking forward to watching her progress again.”
Simioni was crowned Molten WBBL Player of the Month for February after 11.5 assists and 13 points per game across a stellar month.
And the Swiss averaged 7.7 assists per game in the WBBL Championship – second only to Manchester’s highly rated Georgia Jones.
Bunten is looking to confirm a number of returning players and new faces throughout August with his roster rapidly taking shape.
“Giulia is just the first piece of the jigsaw and I think fans will be excited by what’s to come,” he added.
“I’m already focusing on pre-season and ensuring we’re ready to take on Caledonia Pride and then Sevenoaks Suns in September.”
The WBBL season tips off with two back-to-back Trophy games over the weekend of Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September away in Essex.
Top-flight women’s basketball action returns to the Eagles Community Arena on Scotswood Road at 4pm on Sunday 6 October in the first round of the Cup against Cardiff.