In their inaugural season, the Detroit Queens are bringing back professional women’s basketball to the city.
The team is a part of a semi-pro league with a couple of other squads in the Midwest. Their roster is filled with women who are currently playing overseas or looking to play overseas. Most of the squad consists of Michigan women’s basketball record breakers and state champions who went on to play NCAA Division 1 basketball at the end of their high school careers.
The team is Black woman-owned and led by Caroline Watson. The head coach and president is Chris Bass, a Detroit native who has been coaching and speaks highly of the squad.
The roster is deep with talent and consists of players like Arlesia Morse and Hailey Leidel who both are in their first season with the squad. Morse is a native of Flint and has had a professional career in Italy, Serbia, Peru, Romania and Germany. She is a graduate of Flint Hamady High School and won two state championships with the squad while still being the record holder for total career points. She also was nominated to be a McDonalds All-American.
Her college career was spent at Marquette University, where she played all four years and after college went on to play professionally and with her hometown team the Flint Monarchs.
During her time with the Monarchs, Morse was voted GWBA player of the week and led the team in scoring with 20 points per game. She came to the Queens after a phone call with head coach Bass and initially said no but changed her mind given their supportive relationship throughout her basketball career.
Morse has been taking it all in and enjoys playing with the squad.
“Coming back home so my parents can see me play. That’s probably the best part about it. We’re gone for 6-9 months playing overseas and it’s hard,” she said. “It’s been nothing but a blessing to be here. It’s been the best time of my life and getting to play with old teammates and new faces.”
The same sentiment can be felt with her teammate Hailey Leidel of Woodhaven, who just finished her first year overseas. Leidel had a impressive high school career at Woodhaven High School and is the record holder for most points in a game with 38. She was also a Michigan Free Throw Champion and named to many county and state wide awards.
After high school, Leidel took her talents to the University of Massachusetts where she was named Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year.
She continued to rack up awards and finished her career being second all-time scorer in program history averaging 15 points a game. Her senior year she led the team to a 20 win season and played a role in the team going to the Atlantic 10 championship.
Leidel just finished her first year overseas during the COVID pandemic. She started in Luxembourg and finished the season in Greece due to the pandemic. She is also in her first ever semi-pro season with the Detroit Queens and she stated that it’s been an interesting experience for her.
“It’s been cool to be here and workout with girls who are at my level and higher,” she said. “I actually feel like this summer I’ve been able to compete at a level that I usually don’t when I come home.”
Leidel shares the same sentiment as Morse and has enjoyed being on the team and even seeing faces she might play overseas.
“It means a lot to me to be on the team because I had been on the East Coast for the last four years. I haven’t played in front of my family,” she said. Now she has that ability as a member of the Queens and looks forward to more home games in the future.
More home games means more opportunities for a championship which the team and head coach are working for and want to bring back to the city.
“We want to have the best players in Michigan,” Bass said in terms of the visions of the organization. As a lover of basketball, the head coach is excited to work with some of the best players in the area.
He reminisced about the history of the Detroit Shock, the former team who won multiple championships in the WNBA.
“They were not just a good team just for the community, but they also were a championship team,” he stated.
Bass feels that the Queens are a way to bring that professional women’s basketball championship mindset back to the city.
“We have rich championship history with the Pistons and the Shock, we want to bring that back that championship basketball to Detroit.” he stated.
The team is currently in an exhibition state for the 2021 season but the squad is looking for a full season next summer.
You can catch the Queens in their first home game of the year at Schoolcraft College in Livonia on July 31 at 2:30p.m.