WBBL All-Star 5 – Week 3

After another busy weekend of WBBL Championship action, this week’s All-Star 5 don’t have a loss between them as Gloucester City Queens and Sheffield Hatters moved to 2-0, while London Lions won their opener and Sevenoaks Suns – with a pair of representatives – got their title defence off to the ideal start. The team features numerous Great Britain internationals, and is led by Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee and Holly Winterburn, both of whom tormented their former clubs in the last round of games.

Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee – Sheffield Hatters
The GB guard made the move across the Pennines over the summer, joining Hatters from Manchester Met Mystics, and she helped her new team to open their WBBL Championship campaign with dominant back-to-back wins. Against her former side on Saturday, Fong Lyew Quee scored 23 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals as Hatters controlled proceedings from tip-to-buzzer. She scored five points in the early run that put them in front for good, and then a further eight in a second stanza that Sheffield won 23-15 to take a double-digit lead. They held their hosts to single-figure scoring in both the third and fourth quarters, with three of her four steals and three of her four defensive boards coming during that defensive masterclass.

Holly Winterburn – London Lions
Another GB guard also had a big weekend against her former team, as London Lions scored a potentially significant victory over fellow early season favourites Leicester Riders at the Copper Box Arena. Winterburn shot an amazing 5-6 (83%) from three-point range on her way to a game high 21 points, also handing out six assists and nabbing five steals. She did much of her scoring early in the game, including a momentum-changing three-pointer on the third quarter buzzer that halted a Leicester comeback as they had got back to within two shots. That set up a fourth quarter that Lions won 28-5, with Winterburn turning provider as she dished four of her assists with three steals and three rebounds in that period.

Melita Emanuel-Carr – Gloucester City Queens
Emanuel-Carr led Queens to a narrow road win in Durham as they produced a big fourth quarter to make it two wins from two in their first WBBL Championship campaign, and she’s the third GB international gaining weekly honours. She finished with 21 points, shooting a tough 5-7 (71%) on the inside, along with seven rebounds and five asists as Queens came back to overturn a deficit that was as many as six points with seven minutes to play. Emanuel-Carr scored four points from then, but more importantly twice found Claire Abbott – who makes the bench for the All-Star 5 – with assists that set up back-to-back three-pointers that proved to be the key scores.

Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns
The reigning Molten WBBL Player of the Season makes the All-Star 5 for the second week in a row after posting another huge double-double as Suns got their league title defence off to an emphatic start with victory over Essex Rebels, in front of a big crowd at Essex Sports Arena. She finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds, as well as six assists, including eight points and four assists in eight minutes early on as Suns established a 30-10 lead in the second quarter from which they never looked back.

Jamila Thompson – Sevenoaks Suns
Almost equally as effective for Sevenoaks in that game, albeit in a different manner, was 6’4″ GB centre Jamila Thompson who has returned to the WBBL after two seasons in Spain and the Czech Republic. Sevenoaks held their hosts to just 46 points, including single figures in both the first and second quarters, and Thompson’s presence was key to that defensive dominance as she finished with 12 defensive rebounds, among 15 total boards, as well as five steals. She also scored eight points and gave out four assists, and despite not scoring in the tone-setting opening quarter, three of her steals and three of her assists came in that time.

Off the bench: Goretti Hurtado Barbeito (Durham Palatinates), Georgia Gayle (Sheffield Hatters), Shannon Hatch (Cardiff Met Archers), Kennedy Leonard (London Lions), Denisa Molnar (Cardiff Met Archers), Oceana Hamilton (Leicester Riders), Claire Abbott (Gloucester City Queens).