TORONTO,ON–The popularity of women’s basketball worldwide is on the rise. With great Canadian players like Tammy Sutton-Brown, Miranda Ayim and Kim Smith having played in the Women’s National Basketball League, other female ballers are hoping to achieve that goal of playing professional basketball. With the creation of the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL), 56 semi-professional teams from all over the United States and Canada, have been given the chance to face one another on a weekly basis.
In their second season of the WBCBL, the Toronto Lady Elite 1’s are carving out the path to further the life span of female basketball in Canada. According to head coach Wayne Dawkins, the objective of the organization is “to continue to develop our players beyond university.” Backed by the PHASE 1 basketball organization, the ladies will face off in 11 games this season, continuously giving them the opportunity to improve their game and receive recognition where it is due.
Dawkins explained that “PHASE 1 basketball is trying to keep women, and men in the game long enough that they can reach their full potential. We have young men and women in our country that are finished college and university at 22 years old and are hanging their shoes up, but they have anywhere from 4 to 6 more years of development before they even reach their peak as a basketball player.” Due to many years with minimal support, short basketball careers have been the reality for many, but the Toronto Lady Elite 1’s would like to change that.
“This is an opportunity to keep young women playing and who knows, we may develop some national team players, we may get some girls out here that could absolutely play professional.”
The current roster consist of a solid group of basketball players, who have basketball backgrounds in the NCAA, CIS and CCAA. Players like Stephany Skbra, Tamara and Alisha Tatham, Tashawna Higgins, and Amanda Davidson, bring leadership, versatility, skill and flavor to the teams style of play. With so much talent lined up, a strong season is near.
In terms of having another team within the area, the WBCBL has placed restrictions on how many teams can be within a 50 mile radius of one another. The Toronto Lady Elite 1’s team is only two years old, making them a very young program. “Potentially we can have a younger club system underneath us,” but the team has their sights set on establishing what they currently have.
Coach Dawkins believes ” These women want to reach their maximum potential as basketball players and I think that the more support we can get from the community will allow, not only them, but the other young girls to see basketball as something that doesn’t end at university.”
The team schedule for Toronto’s Lady Elite 1’s can be found here
In addition, PHASE 1 will be hosting the 9th Annual Rising Stars Showcase on June 19 at Seneca College in Toronto.