Caledonia Gladiators guard Laken James has been named the inaugural winner of the Molten Defensive Player of the Year (DPOTY) award after a stellar campaign for the Scottish club where the American’s talents have shone on both ends of the floor.

A new title established this season, the DPOTY award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in the League, with the winner selected following a voting process involving the club Head Coaches and Captains.

Returning last summer for her second spell in the League, after a first outing in 2021/22 where James guided Caledonia to the Final Four of the post-season for the first time in club history, the Wisconsin native hasn’t missed a step in her Scottish reunion.

Many will remember the 28-year-old’s first spell in the League where James was an explosive, volume scorer from all areas of the floor, featuring in pretty much every minute of Caledonia’s campaign.

With the team’s evolution in her absence, the Gladiators have been able to surround James with considerably more firepower this season, allowing for her role to evolve and setting the stage for her overlooked defensive talents to shine.

In fact, in 25 minutes per contest this season – compared to almost 37 minutes in her first Caledonia campaign – James is contributing almost identical defensive statistics, ranking second in the League for steals per game.

The numbers only tell some of the story, however, as the American floor general is a tone-setter with her leadership on the defensive end, often guarding the opponent’s toughest match-up from night to night.

Speaking following confirmation of her winning the award, James said:

“I’m honoured to receive the Molten Defensive Player of the Year Award. Defence is something that I’ve always worked on improving so this award is really very special for me. I have to say a big thanks to my coaches and teammates for challenging me every day!”

Caledonia Gladiators Head Coach Chantelle Handy added:

“This has come as no surprise; Laken not only brings her best in games but also every day in practice. She competes for every possession, and she really prides herself on the defensive end. This is a very well-deserved award.”

To see the full voting list click HERE!