Kirsty Brown, or KB, the all-time leader in games played for Cal Poly Women’s Basketball, is currently embarking on her first year as a professional basketball player abroad in Great Britain.
After spending five years at Cal Poly that came to an end after the 2021-22 season, Brown is now playing in the Women’s British Basketball League, the top-level Women’s Basketball League in Great Britain, for the Leicester Riders.
While setting the record for games played at Cal Poly, last season did not end the way Brown wanted. Her career for the Mustangs came to a close earlier than expected, as she suffered a partially torn ACL toward the end of the season.
“[My season] ended in February when I got hurt, so that was obviously a little tough,” Brown said. “I started talking to a couple of agents around April/May time, and ultimately in May decided on signing with my agency.”
From there, Brown’s agency compiled a highlight video and all of her stats, sent them out all over Europe and started fielding offers from there.
“It was actually the week after graduation when we got the first call from the Riders,” Brown said. “I was in Mexico at the time, I got on a call with our general manager and head coach at the beginning of July, and from there, it was pretty much a week after that I decided that this place really felt like it was going to be my home.”
The style and culture of the club really appealed to Brown, and the turnaround to the season was a quick one.
“I ended up signing the third week of July and they officially announced my signing at the beginning of August,” Brown said. “I moved three weeks later and have been here ever since.”
Although it’s a different environment for the Pleasanton, Calif. native, the adjustment to living abroad hasn’t been too bad.
“I adjusted pretty quickly… the culture here isn’t too different from the US,” Brown said. “My teammates, my coaches and all of the support staff have been awesome and they’ve really helped me adjust super quickly. I definitely feel at home already.”
Brown’s team, the Leicester Riders, has gotten off to a strong start in her first WBBL season. In the WBBL, there is the regular season championship as well as two separate knockout competitions throughout the season – the WBBL Cup and the WBBL Trophy.
For the regular season championship, the Riders are currently 6-1 and are one of the top teams in the league. Currently, the WBBL Cup is also ongoing. On Dec. 18, the Riders defeated the Essex Rebels in the WBBL Cup to advance to the finals of the tournament in January.
“Overall, the girls are awesome,” Brown said. “We have been fitting together really well, so everybody’s finding strengths and weaknesses and really playing to that, which has been nice.”
The Riders’ team success in the WBBL is not the only exciting news for Brown in Great Britain. On Nov. 14, it was announced that Brown had been selected to participate in the Great Britain National Team camp as a part of a 15-player training camp roster ahead of the Women’s EuroBasket 2023 qualifiers.
“I got a call, probably mid-October, from the coach of the [Great Britain] national team saying that they’d seen me playing in some of our league games and they really liked how I played and were really interested in having me come to camp… which was super exciting,” Brown said. “I was born in Scotland, so I’m lucky enough to have dual citizenship, so it works in my favor.”
Brown took part in the camp the week before Eurobasket Qualifying and was named to the official 12-player roster that played Portugal and Greece in Eurobasket Qualifying on Nov. 24 and 27, respectively.
Brown earned her first-ever cap for the Great Britain national team on Nov. 24 against Portugal in a 76-69 victory.
With KB’s professional career only at its outset, there have already been many accomplishments that Brown has achieved. This is only the beginning, though, and the former Mustang looks to add new accolades to her collection as a professional.