Ipswich Basketball Club’s Harriet Welham has been named WNBL Division One National Player of the Year after yet another historic season for the Suffolk based club.
Welham, who was named Division Two MVP as well as MVP of the National Cup Final and Division Two Playoff Final in 2018, has added Division One MVP to her ever growing trophy cabinet, somehow getting better year after year, firmly establishing herself as one of the top female players playing at any level in this country.
The 23-year-old led Ipswich to a 15-2 record, as the team were crowned WNBL Division One National Champions, after the league was cut short with two weekends to go in the season due to the coronavirus outbreak. That leadership, combined with an incredible 30.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game made it almost impossible for any other player to receive the award. Welham was named National Player of the Week an astonishing seven times. Such was Harriet’s dominance on the court this season, that she finished in the top ten in every statistical category in the league, leading the division in scoring and efficiency, while placing fourth in rebounds and fifth in assists.
“Harriet is on another level” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane. “Two years ago she was the best player on a team that won three national championships in one season, and she’s been a level above the player she was that year this season. I’m running out of ways of saying how amazing she is, but I’m not going to stop trying. Normally players put up huge stats when they are on a bad team, and have to do most of the work – but everything Harriet does for us, she does within the flow of how we play. She’s just that good. It’s a testament to the work she put’s in. She works on her craft every day, she’s a student of the game and a perfectionist, and that makes her one of, if not the best player I’ve ever coached” Added Welham’s long time coach and mentor.
On winning the award, Harriet had this to say “It’s a massive privilege to win this award. There are some great players in this league, but it’s not just me that’s won it, it’s the whole team. We’ve had such an up and down season, battling injuries and only having a full squad for two games, but for me personally it’s been one of the best and most enjoyable of my career.
I watched a young group of players grow up into incredible players and even better people, I’ve watched Danni Cazey have the best season of her career, we’ve had Coco Leung, which has been a major game changer for us and we welcomed Grace Sinnott back into the family.
This team is a privilege to play on, and I can’t miss out Nick, our Coach, who has coached some of his best basketball this season and I continue to learn so much from him.
I must finally thank my Mum and Dad, as well as the rest of my family. It’s ten years and counting and I don’t think they have missed a game yet! None of this happens without them.
We might not have won the league the way we wanted to, there were still games to play and battles to be won but it’s great for us and our programme to get the recognition, and what a better way to celebrate than dedicating it to the NHS staff”.
Harriet has now led Ipswich to four National Championships in three seasons. She has been the best player on a team that has gone from the bottom of Division Two to the top of Division One, scoring over 1600 points in those three seasons. In the past 36 months she has won four national MVP awards, been Player of the Week over fifteen times and for the second season running in WNBL Division One, she is the only British player in the ‘Team of the Season’.
Everyone at Ipswich Basketball Club wishes to congratulate Harriet on this incredible achievement.