ESSEX Rebels basketball team are gathering momentum as they lead up to their season opener.

The University of Essex-based team have snapped up Romanian international Ozana Marginean for their inaugural Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) campaign.

They have also added Spanish forward Katia Javier while the popular Cat Lutz has also returned to the squad, ahead of their first league fixture at the end of the month.

Marginean represented Romania throughout the various U16, U18 and U20 age groups and also posted a highly successful Collegiate career in the NCAA where she stepped out with St Francis of New York.

She lands in Essex after a period of living and working in Barcelona and Rebels' Head Coach Mark Lloyd is excited to have the opportunity to get Marginean back on the floor.

Lloyd said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have Oz joining us for the upcoming WBBL season.

"She has immense experience at both international and NCAA level and will be a key part of our leadership group.

"Oz is a great shooter and perimeter player- but most importantly, a quality person to have within our programme.”

Javier arrives having graduated from the Universidad Europea de Madrid, where she completed her undergraduate studies in Media, Advertising and Communication.

That came off the back of having played in the NCAA with Texas A&M International University, while she has also competed in her homeland with LF2 sides CB Las Rozas, Leganes and Olimpico 64 Colegio Santa Gema.

"Katia is motivated and highly driven to be the best she can be both on and off the court,” said Lloyd.

“She has a true winning mentality and we are delighted that she has bought that passion to succeed to Essex.

“She is a tough competitor inside the paint who is a strong rebounder and scorer but is equally happy stepping out and scoring from behind the arc."

Lutz returns having starred last season as the central figure in the side that lifted the Basketball England League One title, gaining the MVP crown along the way.

She has also had spells with both Reading and Cardiff in the wake of her graduation from the College game where she suited up for NCAA Division One outfit, Iona.

"Cat is a huge favourite with the Essex crowd and they will be excited that she is back playing in the Essex Sport Arena this season," added Lloyd.

"She quite rightly secured the Division 1 League MVP last year with some truly outstanding performances and is well known as a terrific scorer.

"Her work ethic is outstanding and she will be another great leader on our team."

The Rebels welcome Dublin City University for a pre-season fixture, on September 22.