The race for the WBBL Championship title is hitting fever pitch as we head into a hectic final month of the regular season campaign, with this week’s All-Star Five featuring representatives from each of the top three teams, including a pair from the new league-leaders as Holly Winterburn notably ties Jasmine Joyner at the top of the appearances table.
Shanice Beckford-Norton – London Lions
The captain of the now second-placed Lions makes her first appearance in the All-Star Five this season, as they scored an important win over Essex Rebels. Beckford-Norton scored 28 points and made all seven of her free-throws, adding seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. She inspired London during a 28-11 third quarter that decided the game, scoring 11 of her points in that spell including a momentum-shifting ‘and-one’ play that gave them the lead for good.
Holly Winterburn – Leicester Riders
Riders jumped above Lions in the WBBL Championship table on Sunday with a huge win over Durham Palatinates, led by Winterburn as she makes her eighth appearance in the weekly team which is joint-most of any player so far. She shot 10-14 (71%) from the field, including 5-8 (62%) from three-point range, with eight rebounds, four assists and two steals in a dominant performance. Riders won the fourth quarter 35-9 as Winterburn hit three straight triples among 13 points in the final period.
Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns
In the biggest game of last week, Sevenoaks remained unbeaten in the league and continue to be inspired by the form of their captain as Carr makes her third All-Star Five appearance in a row, and fifth overall. Suns moved to 10-0 with a 91-84 win over London Lions, and have games in hand on their title-chasing rivals. In the top of the table clash, Carr was close to a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, with all of the latter coming at the defensive end as Suns held Lions to just 11 third quarter points.
Azania Stewart – Leicester Riders
Leicester’s 2012 Olympian gains weekly honours for the second consecutive week as Riders won twice to make it six straight league wins. She had an efficient double-double of 14 points, on 7-10 (70%) shooting, and 10 rebounds in their other victory of the week, against Cardiff Met Archers on the road, while also handing out three assists. Six of her points came in the opening 13-0 salvo that gave Riders command straight out of the blocks.
Hannah Shaw – Manchester Met Mystics
Mystics recorded two narrow victories last week to put important breathing space between themselves and the teams outside of the Play-offs. In a 66-64 road win over Caledonia Pride, Shaw scored 18 points, with seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks – a number of important plays at both ends in a game of fine margins. She scored 16 of her points in the first half as the teams spent just 20 seconds of the entire contest separated by more than two shots.
Off the bench: Kara Elderkin (Durham Palatinates), Stephanie Umeh (London Lions), Shannon Hatch (Cardiff Met Archers), Ta’Yani Clark (Sevenoaks Suns), Orieoma Chukwu-Etu (Newcastle Eagles), Lucrezia Costa (Essex Rebels), Sian Phillips (Caledonia Pride).