Hot on the heels of signing 193cm forward/centre Kate Oliver, the Brydens Sydney Uni Flames have signed WNBA & WNBL star point guard Leilani Mitchell for the 2014-15 season.

Mitchell was originally drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the second round of the 2008 WNBA draft and was then traded to the New York Liberty. She played six seasons and over 200 games for the Liberty from 2008-2013 after graduating from the University of Utah.

Initially a bench player with the Liberty, she developed a reputation for fearlessness, grabbing loose balls and driving for the basket. She became the regular starting point guard for the Liberty in the 2010 WNBA season and led the league in three-point percentage at 48 per cent, scoring 9.3 points per game en route to winning the 2010 WNBA Most Improved Player Award.

Mitchell came to Australia last season to play with the Dandenong Rangers. In a stellar debut WNBL season, where she averaged 11.9 points a game, along with 4.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, Mitchell led the Rangers to the WNBL preliminary final only to fall to eventual finalists, the Townsville Fire. Her outstanding season was capped off with selection to the WNBL All-Star Five.

During her debut WNBL season with Dandenong, the 29-year-old committed to playing for Australia at the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Turkey and has been selected in the Opals squad.

“In addition to enjoying playing in Australia in the past season, I have been able to get to know and spend time with relatives on my mother’s side, that I either had not met before or just have not been able to spend much time with,” she said. “It has been such a blessing getting to know them and also learning more about my roots and family background.

Opals head coach Brendan Joyce was already aware of Mitchell’s ability before she played for Dandenong, and she was soon drafted into the Opals squad after a stand-out 2013-14 WNBL season.

“We knew about her beforehand,” said Joyce, who had toured the US looking at the WNBA. “She’s definitely in my Opals calculations.”

On signing with the Flames, Mitchell said that “I am really excited to play for the Flames and experience all that Sydney has to offer. I really loved Melbourne and expect to fall in love with Sydney as well.”

Mitchell joins a solid Flames squad currently consisting of 2013-14 Co-MVP’s Katie-Rae Ebzery and Rohanee Cox, Lauren King, Casey Samuels, Tahlia Tupaea, and Kate Oliver.

The Flames are very excited about signing Mitchell as she was highly sought after by a number of other WNBL teams. The Flames hope that she makes the cut for the Opals World Championship team and returns ready to fire for the 2014-15 WNBL season.