As the WBBL season draws closer and the Mystics roster nears completion, I caught up with returning stalwarts Jade Lucas and Nicola Welling to gauge their thoughts ahead of the new campaign.
MM: You’ve been part of the set-up here for a long time now. What is it that keeps you coming back year after year?
JL: Basketball is my passion. I’ve been playing since I was eight years old. I love to see all my friends and keep myself fit. Basketball’s always been there for me.
NW: This is the best club in the region. There’s a good youth programme behind us and I enjoy seeing the younger players come up to compete with us. It’s always good to have that.
MM: It’s early days yet, but what difference do you feel the move to Belle Vue has made for the programme?
JL: I think it’s given us a new vision, being a focus group now. We also have a different coach, with different ideas, which has given everyone an early boost and lots of confidence. We feel really valued right now.
NW: The facilities have given us a different feeling and we’ve been able to attract some good talent to the club. They’ve brought an intensity with them. That can only be good for us.
MM: What are you most looking forward to this season?
JL: We have a great range of talent that I’m looking forward to playing with. Georgia was a team-mate of mine years ago, she’s just an amazing player. Rheanne Bailey is a player I’ve respected for a long time and also my old friends Jamie Curtis and Nicki are still here. I like the dynamic we have around the group and I’m really excited.
NW: I’m looking forward to winning some games! We’ve got a great group, there’s a great atmosphere on the floor, our intensity is higher and we should be able to compete better than we have recently. It all adds up to winning!
MM: What will signify success for you in May?
JL: For me, getting to the end of the season and feeling like everyone contributed their maximum and felt valued will be a big thing, regardless of our finishing position. If we’re all on the same page working towards the same goal, we will be successful.
NW: With the players we have, we need to be aiming for the top half of the league and looking to make some noise in the play-offs.
*The Mystics are taking part in the Betty Codona Classic at Nottingham Wildcats Arena this weekend (1st & 2nd October). The long running tournament was added to the regular WBBL calendar this year.