Last week saw the conclusion of the WBBL Cup group stage and the opening of the 2021-22 WBBL Championship campaign, with ten teams in action in the latter on a busy Super Saturday. The second WBBL All-Star 5 of the season is led by the reigning MVP and a trio of big double-doubles.
Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns
The reigning Molten WBBL Player of the Season makes her first All-Star 5 appearance of this campaign as Sevenoaks finished off their WBBL Cup group stage games with an impressive win over Essex Rebels, Carr amassing a double-double by half time and finishing just one assist shy of a triple-double. Suns raced into an early lead as she scored their first nine points in three minutes, finishing with a huge 29 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists.
Maura Fitzpatrick – Gloucester City Queens
In their first ever WBBL Championship game, Queens came out victorious as Fitzpatrick’s double-double saw them past Cardiff Met Archers at Oxstalls Sports Park. The Connecticut-born former Marist player, and MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, shot 8-12 (66%) on the inside on her way to 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, proving hard to handle as she also drew nine fouls in the game. Queens won the fourth quarter 22-11 to seal the game, with Fitzpatrick scoring eight of those and sparking the early 7-0 burst that gave them a cushion they wouldn’t relinquish.
Oceana Hamilton – Leicester Riders
Another new star to the league is Leicester’s 6’4″ Canadian centre Oceana Hamilton, who joined in the summer from a professional season in Germany. Riders progressed to the WBBL Cup semi-finals with a perfect group stage record as Hamilton’s double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds helped them beat Archers at home. Seven of those boards came at the offensive end with Leicester scoring 16 second chance points – eight of those coming from her rebounds – and she also proved her defensive reputation with three big blocks.
Kennedy Leonard – London Lions
Lions qualified for the group stages of EuroCup Women in midweek and returned from Gran Canaria to open their WBBL Championship campaign in dominant fashion on the road at Caledonia Pride. Point guard Kennedy Leonard picked up where she left off with a near triple-double of 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, also nabbing four steals. She scored seven points in under four minutes as part of an early 11-4 push that established a double-digit lead that Lions never looked back from.
Georgia Gayle – Sheffield Hatters
The first player to make two All-Star 5 appearances this season, Gayle has returned to the WBBL after four years away and Hatters returned to WBBL Championship action for the first time since March 2020, both in impressive style. They ran out big victors over Durham Palatinates, with the Great Britain star doing a bit of everything as she put up 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists, including a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter, the latter of which gave them a double-digit lead that they maintained throughout.
Off the bench: Rebecca Cardenas (Sheffield Hatters), Hannah Robb (Leicester Riders), Shannon Hatch (Cardiff Met Archers), Holly Winterburn (London Lions), Merissa Quick (Oaklands Wolves), Lauren Milligan (Oaklands Wolves), Julia Koppl (Sevenoaks Suns).