All-Star Five – Week 21 – Women’s British…
In the last week the WBBL has closed out the regular season and got May Madness underway with all four Play-off quarter-finals live on Sky Sports YouTube from the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle. Kennedy Leonard turned in two of the performances of the season in the space of five days to lead the All-Star Five, while Abby Lowe and Alison Gorrell are also recognised for their part in causing the biggest upset in WBBL Play-off history.
Kennedy Leonard – London Lions
Leonard finished the regular season by producing the highest Performance Points tally of any player this campaign (53), with a triple-double that was close to a quadruple-double, and then opened May Madness with another near quadruple-double to send Lions into the Play-off semi-finals. Against Durham Palatinates she posted 24 points, 17 assists, 10 rebounds and eight steals as Lions finished third in the league; and she followed that with 22 points, 16 assists, eight rebounds and eight steals to get the post-season underway. In five days, the floor general had 33 assists and just two turnovers, securing her tenth All-Star Five appearance of the season, which breaks a tie with Holly Winterburn at the top and means that she cannot be caught as the leader in this regard.
Stephanie Umeh – London Lions
Lions dominated Essex Rebels in their Play-off quarter-final on Sky Sports, and the next most dominant player was Stephanie Umeh, who has excelled in her role off the bench all season and makes a third All-Star Five showing. In just 21 minutes she posted a big double-double, pouring in 22 points on 10-15 (66%) shooting and snatching 13 rebounds, also nabbing three steals. She scored 14 points in the fourth quarter as Lions put the game beyond Rebels, sending a 12-point lead with ten minutes to play to near 30 by the end of the contest.
Abby Lowe – Newcastle Eagles
Never before in WBBL Play-off history had a seventh seed beaten a second seed, but that is what Newcastle achieved in beating Leicester Riders, led by 26 points from Lowe on 4-6 (66%) three-point shooting and 6-8 (75%) at the free-throw line, while she also had seven steals in a great two-way performance. Eagles were behind early on until Lowe scored seven in an 11-2 second stanza burst, and they never trailed from that point as she made further big plays, including a three-pointer to open the fourth and a driving lay-up after a timeout to make it a two-shot game inside the final minute.
Irene Garrido-Perez – Sevenoaks Suns
After lifting the WBBL Championship title, Sevenoaks Suns opened May Madness on Sky Sports by making it safely through their quarter-final against Oaklands Wolves, led by Garrido-Perez as she secured a first All-Star Five appearance of the season. She missed just twice from the field on her way to 20 points on 7-9 (77%) shooting, and that included seven points in the 14-0 surge that blew the game open early in the second quarter. She hit 3-4 (75%) from beyond the arc, including a triple early in the fourth that sent the lead through 20 and halted any thoughts of a comeback.
Alison Gorrell – Newcastle Eagles
Gorrell and Lowe combined for three-quarters of Newcastle’s scoring in their historic win on Saturday as the league’s leading scorer hit 24 points to make her fifth All-Star Five appearance of the campaign, putting her in joint-fifth overall. She played all 40 minutes in the game and came close to a triple-double, adding eight rebounds and seven assists to her scoring. Crucially, she proved too much for Leicester to handle as she drew 10 fouls and shot 12-16 (75%) at the free-throw line, including 4-5 (80%) in the fourth quarter and a crucial pair to keep it a two-shot game with 25 seconds to play.
Off the bench: Sian Phillips (Caledonia Pride), Simone Costa (Nottingham Wildcats), Carla Bieg Salazar (Essex Rebels), Cat Carr (Sevenoaks Suns), Hannah Shaw (Manchester Met Mystics), DeAngelique Waithe (Essex Rebels), Moa Lundqvist (Nottingham Wildcats).