With all of the WBBL Championship Play-off placings settled last weekend, Sevenoaks Suns took the regular season title despite suffering a defeat to the second-placed Leicester Riders, who themselves finished in style by also beating third-placed London Lions behind a huge performance from Holly Winterburn that sees her front up this week’s All-Star Five and tie London’s Kennedy Leonard for the most appearances so far.
Holly Winterburn – Leicester Riders
Riders needed a pair of big wins over a double-header weekend for any chance of snatching the title, and they started that off with an 84-80 road win at Lions as Winterburn posted the third highest Performance Points tally of any player this season, 42, to make her ninth All-Star Five appearance. She scored a huge 36 points on 12-17 (70%) shooting from the field and 8-8 at the line, adding six rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks. That included an assist and four straight free-throws inside the final 30 seconds to break a tie and settle the game.
Helen Naylor – Manchester Met Mystics
Naylor makes her second appearance in the weekly team after helping Mystics to a fifth-place finish with a home win over Caledonia Pride. Amazingly, she posted a big double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench, also handing out three assists. In a one possession game in the early stages, she checked in and had nine points and five rebounds in two and a half minutes over the first quarter break to put Mystics in control with a double-digit lead.
Claire Paxton – Durham Palatinates
The only member of this week’s All-Star Five not to make the Play-offs, Paxton was another to post a massive double-double for the tenth-placed Palatinates as they picked up two straight wins. The league’s leading defensive rebounder had 19 points and 19 boards, 16 of which were at the defensive end, with four assists and three blocks as Durham beat Oaklands Wolves. That included eight points and nine rebounds in the decisive second quarter during which her team poured in 30 points.
Simone Costa – Nottingham Wildcats
Costa has been instrumental in Wildcats securing fourth place in the WBBL Championship despite an injury to star player, and previous league leader in All-Star Five appearances, Jasmine Joyner. In Nottingham’s win over Newcastle Eagles, Costa scored a season-high 26 points on 9-13 (69%) shooting and 6-6 at the line, adding seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. The game was won in a 26-8 second quarter in which Costa scored half of her team’s points including six straight in an 8-0 burst that sent the lead into double-figures just before half time.
DeAngelique Waithe – Essex Rebels
Waithe makes her fifth All-Star Five appearance of the campaign and returns to the team for the first time in five weeks as Rebels finished sixth with a big win over Cardiff Met Archers to close their regular season. She had an eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and 13 rebounds, including 7-10 (70%) interior shooting and 7-8 (87%) at the free-throw line as she proved hard to handle on the inside.
Off the bench: Kennedy Leonard (London Lions), Azania Stewart (Leicester Riders), Ta’Yani Clark (Sevenoaks Suns), Kara Elderkin (Durham Palatinates), Chelsey Shumpert (Nottingham Wildcats), Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee (Manchester Met Mystics), Andrea Kohlhaas (Essex Rebels).