Flames sign Nicholson for Sydney homecoming
The Sydney Flames have made their next big splash of the WNBL free agency by announcing that Lauren Nicholson will return to the harbour city.
The 30-year-old Sydney product joins the Hoops Capital side on a three-year-deal (with the third being a mutual option) and becomes the fifth player on the roster for WNBL24 – alongside Tiana Mangakahia, Emma Clarke, Kiera Rowe and recently signed Tess Madgen.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to come back to Sydney and play for my hometown Flames, as it gives all my friends and family the chance to watch me play each week,” said Nicholson, who averaged 15.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in WNBL23 with Townsville.
“I also am really excited to see what the Flames, and Hoops Capital as a whole, is building – it’s a place, as a player, I want to be moving forward.
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“Over the past few years, I’ve heard plenty of good things about the direction of the organisation and where they want to take basketball in Sydney – which is great to see as a person who grew up here.”
Born in Campbelltown before growing up and playing her junior basketball with Sutherland, Nicholson spent time with the Flames as an amateur player from 2009-2011 before attending St Mary’s College in the United States from 2012-2016.
Upon her return to Australia, she re-joined the Flames for one season and helped them win the WNBL17 championship.
This was followed by a three-year stint with the Adelaide Lightning (in which she won the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year) and three seasons with Townsville – which resulted in her guiding the Fire to their fourth title in WNBL23.
During this time, Nicholson has also been named to the All-WNBL Second Team twice (2020 and 2023) and has represented the Australian Opals at events as such 2019 FIBA Asia Cup in India (bronze medal) and 2021 FIBA Asia Cup in Jordan (bronze medal).
It’s obvious to see why Flames president Victoria Denholm and the club wanted to bring Nicholson back to Sydney and play for her hometown side.
“We love Lauren’s energy and ability to play multiple positions,” Denholm said.
“She has championship experience and knows how to win games.
“Not only that, but she’s also a great community advocate and wants to continue to build women’s basketball in NSW and give back to junior players, which we love.”
Denholm went on to outline how this means her harbour city side means business in WNBL24 and beyond.
“Attracting top talent and free agents like Lauren shows we’re getting serious in Sydney about bringing the Flames back to our championship glory,” she said.
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Championship experience is just one aspect Nicholson believes she will bring to the harbour city side.
“The goal at the start of every season is to win a championship and I’ve been lucky enough to win two now, but I’d love to win another with my hometown,” said Nicholson, who this week was named in the Opals’ 19-person Asia Cup squad.
“Experience, especially at this high level, is invaluable and I’ll be happy to share and help our new look as much as I can to achieve the ultimate prize.
“As well as that, I’m confident I can bring playmaking, shooting and ability to play both ends of the court – I’ve been known for my defence for a while now and hope to continue to grow that and all other elements of my game in the years to come.”
Until the WNBL24 pre-season training tips off, Nicholson will continue to play in the NBL1 East with her junior club Sutherland.
Stay up to date with all the club’s off-season news here.