WNBL1: FocusHoops team of the week (31 October/1 November 2020)

To recognise the stand-out players and performances each week, FocusHoops' Darren Paul picks his WNBL team of the week.

As a writer, commentator, podcaster and more, Darren gives his view based on games from week three of the WNBL season.

As part of our regular coverage, you can also check out Rebound's Chris Hughes and his take on the NBL1 team of the week!

Have your say on 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

Esther Little - Ipswich, wing

17 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 28 efficiency

Another fantastic week from the young Gonzaga commit,  Little followed up her Player of the Week selection with another remarkable stat line against, traditionally, one of the toughest defences in the WNBL.

As always, the Ipswich product doing a lot of everything, and resting for only 39 seconds, Little was instrumental in getting the victory and keeping the Suffolk side at the top of the pile with a 2-0 record.

Little’s finger prints are all over this game as she generated offensive opportunities for herself and others almost at will.

You can enjoy her Player of the Week performance below!

Krisztina Velkey - Team Solent Kestrels, guard

24 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 26 efficiency

Krisztina Velkey is once again the beating heart of The Solent Kestrels. Velkey was a huge contributor for her side, keeping them close with game highs in points (24) and rebounds (17), including four offensive rebounds to generate those second-chance opportunities.

Velkey has a no-quit attitude which saw her bag eight points in the final period of play. Whilst this wasn’t enough on this occasion, the talented scorer's work rate and commitment to success will help Solent go far this season, and as the double-doubles rack up, so too should her team of the week selections.

Vicky Gray - Nottingham Trent University, wing

11 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 20 efficiency

Another captain’s performance from Vicky Gray for Nottingham Trent University. Arguably an underrated player in our league, Gray has been one of the more consistent performers across the last few seasons.

In a game of full of big performances scoring performances, Gray’s all round contribution stands out as she contributed fantastically well on both ends of the floor, erasing mistakes on the defensive end whilst being close to a triple double.

Gray led her NTU side to last season's WNBL National Cup final

Isabel Buriberi - Nottingham Trent University, forward

11 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, +27 points difference, 27 efficiency

Isabel Buriberi has the chance this season to be one of the elite bigs in the WNBL and she kicked off her season with a huge performance on the boards that set the foundation for victory over the Lions.

Buriberi will be leaned on by Coach Louise Waghorn a lot this season to do the work in the post, and if she is able to offer what she did this weekend consistently, NTU will be a problem for everyone they face.

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Charlotte Redhead - Ipswich, guard

18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 19 efficiency

The Ipswich shooter is a potential star ready to have a real breakout season and her performance against Solent Kestrels could be the beginnings of that. Redhead’s damage this weekend came from beyond the arc, hitting 6/11 from three-point range.

Redhead’s three triples in the first period helped to establish a solid Ipswich lead but her deep shot early in the third was a huge moment in the game. Solent had gone in to the break with the lead and were looking to make a real run at the reigning champs, with Redhead helping to slow their momentum.

It all added up to an excellent scoring performance with good all around contributions.

Team basketball

Ipswich dig deep

Ipswich went to the home of the one of the toughest teams in the WNBL and came away with a great win. Little, Welham, Redhead and Danielle Cazey all came up huge in the ball game.

Cazey and Redhead in particular caught fire from three, going a combined 10-23 from deep which could be argued won them the game.

Ipswich were also able to keep out of foul trouble, conceding just 11 in the game. Despite sending Solent to the line 20 times, being able to use your roster fully is a huge boost to any coach.

The defending champs remain the team to beat this season, and after this weekend, they will have the believe that they can go into any gym in the country and come away with a victory.

Honourable mentions

Harriet Welham (IPS) - 15P/11R/8A/2S/2B/17EFF
Mady Burdett (NTU) - 18P/1R/2R/66% FG/19EFF
Naomi Campbell (NTU) - 15P/6R/1A/2S/17EFF
Faye Endean (TSK) - 18P/6R/3A/7S/14EFF
Kian Omer-Jones (BAR) - 12P/14R/1S/2B/13EFF