All-Star 5 – Week 12 – Women’s British Basketball…
The WBBL returned to action following a break over the holiday season with a number of tight games, and some unfamiliar faces make the latest All-Star 5 as three players appear for just the second time this season and two make their debuts, led by Abby Lowe after her recent transfer between North East rivals.
Abby Lowe – Durham Palatinates
Great Britain 3×3 star Abby Lowe recently made the move from Newcastle Eagles to North East rivals Durham Palatinates, and had a startling debut as Palatinates secured a second WBBL Championship win of the season and first since October, leading to Lowe gaining weekly honours for the first time this season. She poured in 38 points in victory over Nottingham Wildcats, and was impossible for the visitors to handle as she drew 12 fouls in the game and knocked down 12-16 (75%) at the free-throw line, also hitting 7-11 (63%) inside. Durham trailed early on until Lowe scored 10 points in little over three minutes to end the first quarter on a 12-3 tear, leading for good from then onwards.
Claire Paxton – Essex Rebels
In the only non-league game of the weekend, Rebels won the WBBL Trophy opener in nail-biting fashion with an 87-84 overtime defeat of Caledonia Pride, as Claire Paxton makes her second All-Star 5 appearance following a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds. Rebels trailed by more than 20 points, and as many as 17 to start the final ten minutes, before Paxton scored seven in the fourth quarter, including a late three-pointer that got them back to within one shot, and she then had six points and three rebounds in the extra period including the game-winning score with nine seconds to play.
Merissa Quick – Oaklands Wolves
Experienced American forward Merissa Quick has had a number of ‘off the bench’ showings this season, but makes her first appearance in the starting five after Oaklands Wolves moved into the WBBL Championship Play-off places with a one-shot win over Gloucester City Queens, leap-frogging them in the process. She scored 19 points in just 23 minutes on 7-11 (63%) shooting, grabbing nine rebounds with two assists and two blocks, including eight points in the decisive second quarter that Wolves won 20-10 and a key free-throw with four seconds left that made it a two-shot game and effectively ended Gloucester’s comeback.
Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee – Sheffield Hatters
Hatters bucked the trend of tight games over the weekend with a comfortable road win at Cardiff Met Archers as they maintain the pressure at the top of the WBBL Championship table, now 9-1 in league action, as Great Britain international Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee makes her second All-Star 5 appearance of the season, but first since week three. She finished with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in a do-it-all performance, including the early three-pointer that put Hatters up for good, followed by five points, five rebounds and four assists in the second stanza as the visitors settled the game before half time.
Rebecca Cardenas – Sheffield Hatters
A teammate also making her second appearance of the season in the weekly team, and second in a row, is Sheffield’s Texas-native guard Rebecca Cardenas. She made an outstanding all-round contribution to Hatters’ performance without scoring in double-figures, as she finished with eight points on just four shots in 19 minutes, but nabbed an amazing nine steals as a defensive pest along with four rebounds and four assists. Those steals were a key feature of Sheffield’s performance as they finished with a massive 27 in the game and scored 42 points from turnovers, including 10 points directly from Cardenas steals as she set the tone early on.
Off the bench: Laken James (Caledonia Pride), Imani Whittington (Nottingham Wildcats), Maddy McVicar (Newcastle Eagles), Lizzy Harrison (Oaklands Wolves), Melita Emanuel-Carr (Gloucester City Queens), Kennedy Nicholas (Nottingham Wildcats), Marlee Ball (Gloucester City Queens).