WNBL1: FocusHoops team of the week (12/13 December 2020)

Another week, another tough set of choices for FocusHoops' Darren Paul as he once again selects his Team of the Week.

As a writer, commentator, podcaster and more, Darren was able to make his selection from five high-quality games, including Loughborough's win over previously unbeaten Ipswich.

Have a look over this week's choices and give a shout-out to the players you think deserve one using the hashtag #NBL2021. Don't forget to tag us!

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How it works

The Basketball England WNBL Player of the Week goes straight into the starting line-up.

The other four players are picked with the following factors in mind:

  • Efficiency
  • Stats
  • Team and opposition strength
  • Periods of influence in the game

The FocusHoops team of the week

Makana Stone - Loughborough Riders, forward

20 points, 21 rebounds, 47 FG%, 30 efficiency

Player of the Week writes itself this week following the incredible matchup between Ipswich and Leicester.

Makana Stone has once again shown her worth to Loughborough as she was the leading figure in ending Ipswich’s unbeaten streak and announcing to the league the Riders' intentions.

A dominant performance throughout, causing trouble at both ends of the floor and pulling down an otherworldly 21 boards, Stone came up clutch at the death.

After battling down low with Esther Little, the American scored the game-winner, banking in it from a tough angle with her defender putting her under immense pressure.

Robyn Ainge - Loughborough Riders, guard

16 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals, 20 efficiency

On the big occasion, Robyn Ainge came up with a huge all-around performance and made clutch shots down the stretch.

With the tide seemingly going against her side and Loughborough's lead erased thanks to a triple from Susannah Rafiu, Ainge took the ball up the floor and sank a triple of her own to put the Riders up once again, a basket that was huge in the context of the game.

Throughout the contest, Ainge ran the show for the Riders, shooting, driving and combining well with Stone and Katie Januszewska, a trio that improves game after game.

Krisztina Velkey - Team Solent Kestrels, guard

13 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, +/- +31, 15 efficiency

After a tough weekend last time out, Krisztina Velkey and her side bounced back in emphatic style.

The Solent captain once again proved to be a catalyst for everything the Kestrels did on their way to a quality win over a depleted Worcester Wolves. Velkey made her biggest contributions on the offensive side of things, with a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The MVP candidate contributed points throughout the contest, helping to maintain her side's advantage, as well as grabbing four offensive rebounds to provide second chance opportunities.

The +31 she amassed for the game also highlights at the impact Velkey had on her squad’s victory this weekend.

Solent's Krisztina Velkey in action (Luke Simcock)

Amber Deane - Cardiff Archers, forward

23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 50 FG%, 24 efficiency

It was another incredible individual performance from Deane as she was the top performer in the Archers Wolves clash on Saturday afternoon.

Despite being on the losing side, Deane excelled throughout, scoring efficiently and finishing just a rebound shy of a double-double. Her output certainly kept her team in the contest against a strong Worcester side.

Deane was fouled 7 times in the contest, over half the team total, and shot 6-8 from the line as Worcester struggled to contain the American star.

With 3 steals in the game as well, Deane was putting in the work on both ends of the floor and demonstrated once again why she was MVP for D2 South last season.

Esther Little - Ipswich, wing

15 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 28 efficiency

Esther Little’s near triple-double was just one of the huge performances from her side in their tough loss in Loughborough.

Little had a hand in everything Ipswich did in the ball game and scored key baskets in the key moments, the late three to close the gap to four points being her biggest, as well as working hard on the glass at both ends.

Little linked up particularly well with Susannah Rafiu in a partnership that will cause significant trouble for teams all season long, assisting in back to back triples as Ipswich tried to secure the win.

Esther Little was just an assist short of a triple-double this weekend (Nick Winter)

Team basketball

No rust for the Flyers

Bristol Flyers have trained twice in 45 days but you’d never have known it as they took the OT win over Nottingham Trent University.

Bristol was boosted by the return of Flo Ward, whose late three-pointer tied it up to send the contest to overtime. It would be Mai Zilbeti who did the major damage with four straight points to close out the victory, Bristol's first of the season.

Shout out to Loughborough

The Riders deserve special mention for edging an all-time classic over Ipswich in one of the highest usage games you’re likely to see in the D1W.

Both sides gave it their all, but praise must go to the victors, who managed to stay strong in the face of a fantastic fightback led by Susannah Rafiu.

Katie Januszewska was particularly important for the Riders down the stretch as the Riders continue to grow into the season.

Honourable mentions

Earleesha Jackson (TSK) - 9P/13R/3A/19EFF 
Harriet Welham (IPS) - 18P/9R/1A/22EFF
Molly James (LOU) - 24P/6R/2A/19EFF
Noa Sanchez Marquez (ARU) - 17P/3R/1A/70 FG%/16EFF
Susannah Rafiu (IPS) - 15P/9R/71 FG%/+11/22EFF