Maddy McVicar is predicting another breakout year for women’s basketball across the UK after confirming her return to the Vertu Motors Arena.
And the US guard hopes Newcastle Eagles WBBL will ‘get lucky’ this season on the back of a campaign beset by injuries and player exits.
The all-action playmaker struck up an unstoppable backcourt partnership with league MVP contender Ali Gorrell in her rookie year on Tyneside.
And McVicar said: “It feels like now’s the time to be part of the WBBL and women’s basketball in Britain.
“There are so many positive things happening around the league and the sport has the potential to grow and grow.
“There’s a talented and competitive player pool and two more teams have been added to the mix this season.
“More teams means more exposure and hopefully more money to develop the sport. That’s the dream.”
McVicar emerged as a key player in an Eagles vest after bursting onto the WBBL scene 10 months ago.
And as Newcastle struggled to find their identity — in the face of a succession of injuries and mid-season departures — the University of Maine graduate came to the fore.
McVicar played the majority of minutes in the majority of games and emerged as one of the stars of May Madness earlier this summer.
“We showed our potential in the post-season and proved we can be in the mix,” she added.
“People talk about leadership but everybody played their part down the stretch and it’s that togetherness that took us to the playoff final.
“We had a battle to get through to the end of the regular season and this time around we just need to get lucky.”
Like all of Newcastle’s new faces last season McVicar has yet to experience the full matchday experience at the Vertu Motors Arena.
And she is craving a connection with a growing fan base as women’s basketball continues to make giant strides across the North East.
“It will be awesome to get supporters through the door for the first time in 18 months,” she added.
“I love meeting and working with the younger generation but that simply hasn’t been possible so far.
“I’ve enjoyed being back home with my family this summer but meeting the people of Newcastle is something I can’t wait to do.”
McVicar may well have benefitted from her rookie status last season as the surprise package in Bunten’s ever-evolving starting five.
But the pacey three-point specialist — and one of the WBBL’s top rebounders — will be a marked woman on her return to the WBBL.
And McVicar is anticipating another eye-catching season with big-spending London Lions the team to beat.
“The Lions look like they’re building a powerful team ahead of playing in Europe,” she added.
“But you can never rule out an organisation like Sevenoaks Suns. They’ve got the history and the experience despite making a few changes this summer.
“What we proved last season is that you can’t afford to overlook any team in the WBBL. It’s an exciting and an unpredictable league.”
Newcastle tip off their campaign in September in the WBBL Cup group stages and host the club’s first league game at the Vertu Motors Arena on October 2 against Oaklands Wolves.
Season tickets are on sale now via the box office at just £60 per person, reduced to half-price for BBL card holders.