October 06, 2023

Essex Rebels are thrilled to announce their final women’s signing, Tyra Whitehead,

The 6”3” American forward who hails from Richmond, Virginia, joins us following a recent spell playing in Sweden for professional side, Wetterbygden Sparks, where she averaged 12.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

Prior to making the move overseas to Sweden, Whitehead had an illustrious high school and collegiate in the US, concluding her career at San José State Spartans as one of the most accomplished players in the program’s history.

Prior to bursting onto the scene with the Spartans, Whitehead also had an outstanding high school career. During her time at Cosby High School, Tyra won three consecutive Virginia High School League Class 6A state championships and became a household name throughout the state and country with her strong post play and defensive prowess.

It was at Spartans, however, where Tyra’s career really blossomed. Whitehead started all 31 games for the Spartans in the 2019-2020 season averaging 13.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 assists. During this campaign, Whitehead placed herself in San Jose State history through a few different accomplishments including: the third-highest single-season field goal percentage after shooting 51.1% (185-for-362) from the floor, recording the second 20-20 game in program history with 22 points and 20 rebounds against Fresno State, and becoming just the fifth Spartan in programme history to average a double-double in a season.

These accomplishments led to Whitehead being signed to a training camp contract with WNBA side Washington Mystics in April 2021, but Tyra was ultimately waived by the team before the start of the season.

Despite the setback, Whitehead remained determined to continue pursuing her basketball dreams, and will now have the opportunity to showcase her skills on the court for the Rebels, who are looking to make another push for the WBBL playoffs this season.

Speaking about making the move to the Essex Rebels, Whitehead said:

“For me I’m excited to change the culture here. To be a rebel you must teeter the lines of being poised and being great. Upping the Rebs is the goal. But putting the league on notice is the ultimate mission”.

Head of Basketball Performance, Ashley Cookson, commented on another exciting signing for the Rebels:

“We are excited to have Tyra with us for the 23-24 season. I was fortunate to coach Tyra in her breakout first professional season in 21-22 in the SBL (Sweden) at the Wetterbygden Sparks. She was unfortunate to suffer an ACL injury in the second half of the year. Tyra has shown incredible resistance in her return to the court. Her diverse skill set on the court on both the offensive and defensive end mixed with her passion for the game made her an obvious choice when recruiting this off season. We’re excited to have Tyra in a Rebels uniform this season.”

Welcome to the Rebels family Tyra! We can’t wait to see you in action.

The exciting addition of Whitehead completes the women’s roster for the 2023/2024 season as Coach Cookson begins preparations for when Essex Rebels take on reigning WBBL Playoff champions, London Lions, on Saturday 21 October to kick off our WBBL campaign.

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