Ipswich duo headline End of Season Awards on eve of Playoff Final

Harriet Welham and Esther Little both picked up multiple awards in recognition of their contributions to Ipswich's 16-2 season at the WNBL's end of season awards.


Harriet headlined awards season with her second consecutive Wilson's Player of the Year Award, a huge accomplishment that is becoming a regular thing for the Ipswich guard.

(Photos: Pavel Kricka)

Harriet said: "This is a complete shock, winning league MVP, there’s been a high level of talent in the league this year and some real standout players.


"But I would like to share this award with my team, who have been my rock and a joy to share the court with. The coaching staff, especially Nick, everyone at Ipswich Basketball Club, who supported us throughout this season and also my family who support me through it all.


"It’s been a difficult season for everyone involved, massive respect to everyone who has helped us get on court and the other teams in the league who managed to do the same.


"It’s been an amazing season and this has added to that."


Ipswich's Head Coach Nick Drane said: "I’m so proud of Harriet, she has been not only the face of our team but the face of this league for the last couple of seasons and has handled that responsibility brilliantly.


"To win back-to-back Player of the Year awards, both years leading the team to the league championship while putting up, frankly, insane individual numbers is testament to her talent, work ethic and commitment to not only her own performance but the teams overall success.


"I have never coached a more influential or valuable player!"


Following in her mentor Harriet's footsteps is Esther Little, who was in third place in voting for overall Player of the Year. Esther was voted as the Under 19 Player of the Year, which saw the Gonzaga commit win the award despite fierce competition from a range of hugely talented young prospects in the WNBL Division One.

(Photo: Marvin Isebor / Marvellous Visuals)

Esther Little said: "It’s an honour to win this award, amongst some of the best young players in the country, especially with it being my last season in England.


"But most importantly, I owe this award to my teammates and coaches, without them I wouldn’t be in this position. I owe it to my family, for the sacrifices, time and love they’ve given me. And I owe this to the women who have led the way and inspired me to follow in their footsteps, as I hope to have done for the next generation of girls to come up next.


"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone within Ipswich Basketball Club for the past eight years. You will always have a special place in my heart and the relationships I’ve made will last a lifetime.


"Thank you for having my back through the good, the bad and the worst times of my life!"


Ipswich's head coach Nick Drane said: "It is fitting that Esther has won this award in her final season, both with Ipswich and playing basketball in the UK.


"In my mind, Esther could easily have won any and all of the individual player awards this season. She has been the anchor of our defence, and much of our team’s successful offence starts with her defence, rebounding and passing.


"For me, she has not only been the best young player in the league this season, but amongst the best young players in the country for a number of seasons.


"She knows at a very young age how to win and her track record demonstrates that – the recognition is richly deserved."


Both players followed up these awards with places on the British Team of the Year and Team of the Year, and will look to cap off an exceptional season so far with victory in the WNBL D1 Playoff Final on Saturday 29th May.

(Photos: Marvin Isebor / Marvellous Visuals)

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