All-Star 5 – Week 8 – Women’s British Basketball…
The WBBL Cup semi-final participants were decided after an exciting weekend dominated by knockout action, although the All-Star 5 is led by the standout performer in WBBL Championship play, with sharpshooting performances from Jorjah Smith and Claire Paxton particularly catching the eye.
Jorjah Smith – Oaklands Wolves
The only player not in this team not WBBL Cup action over the weekend, Jorjah Smith led Oaklands Wolves to a last-gasp win over Cardiff Met Archers for their second success in the WBBL Championship and her first appearance in the All-Star 5 – the Australian guard is in her third WBBL campaign, but first with Wolves. She poured in 32 of her team’s 79 points in just 32 minutes, hitting 7-12 (58%) from the three-point line while adding nine rebounds and four assists. That included an unbelievable 19 points, and five made threes, in just seven first quarter minutes as Wolves overturned an early deficit and led from that point and throughout, as Smith added five more to hold off a fourth quarter fightback before Cassidy Gould won it on the buzzer.
Claire Paxton – Essex Rebels
Rebels are through to the WBBL Cup semi-finals after a third straight win in all competitions, as Claire Paxton makes her first showing in the weekly team following a double-double in their home defeat of Durham Palatinates. She scored 17 points including a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc, also grabbing 13 rebounds with four assists and three steals. She hit a pair of treys in a 20-5 start and, after Durham came back to lead, she scored the last five points of the half to halt the visitors’ momentum, followed by an early triple and three assists in the third quarter in a run that settled the game.
Ty Battle – London Lions
London Lions cruised through to the semi-finals in their defence of the WBBL Cup with a dominant win over in-form Sheffield Hatters, with American forward Ty Battle leading the way in a consummate team performance that included contributions from all 11 players and 44 points scored from the bench. Making her second All-Star 5 appearance of the season, Battle had 14 points, eight rebounds and two assists in just 21 minutes of action, including four points and three boards in a fast start as Lions won the opening quarter 31-12, during a solid performance at both ends as she scored throughout and Lions held their visitors to just 14 second half points.
Janice Monakana – Sevenoaks Suns
Great Britain forward Janice Monakana makes her second All-Star 5 showing of the campaign as Sevenoaks – WBBL Cup winners in 2020 – returned to winning ways by reaching the semi-finals of the competition with an overtime victory over form team Caledonia Gladiators. She scored 23 points and had nine rebounds in a game that Suns only led for two minutes in regulation, including a three-pointer that sparked the key late run as they came back from eight points down, followed by a pair of offensive rebounds that both led to scores in the final three minutes, most decisively enabling Judit Fritz to tie the game with a triple forcing the extra period.
Taylor Murray – London Lions
The other Lion who stood out among many in their WBBL Cup quarter-final win over Hatters was American point guard Taylor Murray who, like her compatriot, gains weekly honours for the second time so far this season. She missed just one shot on her way to 13 points, going 4-5 (80%) from the field and 4-4 at the free-throw line, also handing out four assists and nabbing two steals, with five points in their 31-12 start, followed by four points and three assists in the third quarter as Lions held off any thought of a comeback from their visitors.
Off the bench: Erin Jones (Caledonia Gladiators), Lauren Saiki (Cardiff Met Archers), Jess Wayne (Durham Palatinates), Shannon Hatch (Cardiff Met Archers), Karly Murphy (Sheffield Hatters), Ashleigh Munns (Essex Rebels), Hannah Robb (Leicester Riders).