2020-21 Molten WBBL All-British Team of the Year –…
The Molten WBBL All-British Team of the Year, as voted by WBBL Head Coaches, features two Leicester Riders – including one unanimous nominee – alongside an ever-present in this team, a league MVP candidate and a 2012 London Olympian.
Holly Winterburn – Leicester Riders
The election of Leicester’s star guard to the All-British team was unanimous among WBBL Head Coaches, and Winterburn features among the best British five for the second consecutive time after a year out in between at the mighty University of Oregon. Stepping up to captain the league’s second-placed team at just 20 years of age following the departure of Kate Oliver, she lifted the WBBL Cup in February and had a near triple-double in that game of 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The do-it-all guard is a match-up challenge and finished the season third in the WBBL in assists per game (6.2), sixth in steals (2.1), ninth in defensive rebounds (6.1) and tenth in fouls drawn, while putting up 15 points per game and shooting 36% from the three-point line. Her assist and rebound numbers are highs in her young career as she continues to develop her all-around game.
Kennedy Leonard – London Lions
New to the WBBL this season after an amazing career at Colorado University where she finished as the all-time leader in assists, and a debut professional season in Germany, Leonard made a massive impression as the Lions hunted the WBBL Championship title, receiving nine votes. London finished third in the league, with Leonard leading the league in assists (11.3 per game) and steals (3.9), while also scoring 16 points and grabbing five rebounds per outing as one of only five players to average a double-double. She had 11 double-doubles in the regular season and finished it with a triple-double of 24 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds against Durham, nabbing eight steals for a near quadruple-double. Leonard led Lions to WBBL Trophy glory, lifting the MVP award with 21 points, nine assists, seven steals and six rebounds in the final. She also broke records along the way with the highest number of total assists in a season (225), and in a single game with an astonishing 21 against Caledonia Pride.
Georgia Jones – Manchester Met Mystics
Amazingly, Jones is an ever-present in the Molten WBBL All-British Team of the Year since the league’s formation in 2014, receiving nine votes to make her sixth straight appearance. The 31-year-old GB international captained Mystics to a fifth-place finish and was herself fourth in the WBBL in assists (5.3) and sixth in scoring (17.2), while playing the fifth most minutes per game (36.3). She made the most three-pointers of any player in the league, knocking down 63 to edge out Cassie Breen (61), at an accuracy of 36% – that was a career high, with her point tally being a personal best since 2016. She scored in double-figures in all but one league game, and had perhaps her two best performances of the campaign in a pair of victories over Essex Rebels that proved crucial as they took the head-to-head to edge Rebels out of fifth place – Jones averaged a near triple-double in those games of 30 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, hitting six triples each time at 48%.
Claire Paxton – Durham Palatinates
With six votes, Paxton makes the All-British team for the first time in her fourth campaign in the WBBL having joined Durham from Leicester, and she has really stepped up into a leadership role averaging double-figure scoring for the first time with 15.7 points per game getting her into the league’s top 10. She also finished the season first in defensive rebounds (8.3), seventh in total rebounds (9.0) and third in blocked shots per game (1.4). With four wins, Palatinates fell short of the Play-offs, but they finished strong with three of those wins coming in April as Paxton posted six of her eight double-doubles in the final month. Best of all, she had a career-high 34 points along with 10 rebounds in winning a North East derby 75-70 against Newcastle Eagles, including seven points in the final three minutes of that contest.
Azania Stewart – Leicester Riders
The London 2012 Team GB Olympian came out of retirement to represent Leicester Riders this season, and received four votes to take the final spot. Leading the league with 1.9 blocks per game, she was the defensive lynchpin on the best defensive team in the WBBL, and she was also eighth in the league with 8.8 rebounds per outing. Stewart got her work done efficiently at the offensive end too, averaging 11 points per game and leading the league in field goal percentage (61.1%). She had five double-doubles, saving her season-highs for the biggest games with 17 points in one clash with London Lions and five blocks in another that secured Leicester’s second-place finish, while she had 18 rebounds as Leicester were the only team to beat Sevenoaks Suns in league play, although they didn’t win by a big enough margin to take the league title.