A Leopard goes pro: Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby ’17 continues basketball career abroad

Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby 17 drives to the basket between defenders (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby ’17 drives to the basket between defenders (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Amy Hewlett

After four years as a Leopard, Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby ’17 continues her basketball career at a professional level with the Durham Palatinates in England. She starts for the Palatinates and has done so in their first four games this year after signing with them in August.

During her senior season at Lafayette, Ottewill-Soulsby appeared in all 32 games and started 30. She finished second on the team in points per game (7.8), first in assists per game (2.6), first in blocks per game (1.3), and third in rebounds per game (4.4).

“It’s been a smooth transition for me going from college to professional basketball and I think that the basketball and team culture at Lafayette had a lot to do with it,” Ottewill-Soulsby wrote in an email. “Although we didn’t always have the easiest of seasons my coaches, trainers and teammates always pushed me to work hard and to be accountable.”

Ottewill-Soulsby began her basketball career at the age of 13, aided by her height and abundance of energy. Basketball has taken her all over the world and introduced her to new people and new experiences different from her own.

“I am a very competitive person, but beyond that, I have always had great teammates,” Ottewill-Soulsby wrote in an email. “At times being a division one basketball player was tough, but my Lafayette teammates were always there to provide support and motivation. At Durham I am lucky enough to be in a similar situation.”

During her senior year, Ottewill-Soulsby fielded interest from agents in Europe, and also made use of contacts she already had in England. Before signing with the Palatinates, she spoke to several teams. In the summer of 2017, she attended a training camp for the Great Britain National Team and then trained herself for the remainder of the summer.

“I signed with the Palatinates in August and moved to Durham at the beginning of September,” Ottewill-Soulsby wrote in an email. “I was one of the first players to arrive so I had a lot of individual workouts. The rest of the team joined throughout September and we started our season two weeks ago.”

Although this is her first season in the league, Ottewill-Soulsby said she has some high hopes for her season.

“My short term basketball goals are, of course, to help my team to compete and win games in the Women’s British Basketball League,” Ottweill-Soulsby wrote in an email. “Beyond that, the Commonwealth Games will be held in Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 and I’d hope to be in the conversation about the English team that will take part.”

Ottewill-Soulsby is also enrolled at Durham University, where she is studying for her Masters in International Relations. After playing in Britain, Ottewill-Soulsby strives to play in Germany and forge a career that makes use of the skills she has learned in both her basketball and her academic life.

“It’s hard to stop at just one thing that I have learnt from playing basketball,” Ottewill-Soulsby wrote in an email. “Just off the top of my head I can say that playing on a team teaches commitment, teamwork, time management, self-discipline—all transferrable skills that enrich everyday life.”