FocusHoops WNBL1 Team of the Week (December 16/17)

For one last time in 2023, FocusHoops' Darren Paul is here to hand out some worthy D1W accolades.

As a writer, commentator, podcaster and more, Darren have a quartet of games to make his choices from, with plenty of players pulling out their A game to get into the conversation this week.

Have your say on this week's choices and give a shout-out to the players you think deserve one using the hashtag #NBL2324. Don't forget to tag us!     

Twitter: @NBLengland / @FocusHoops   
Facebook: @NBLengland  / @FocusHoops   
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How it works   

Darren will pick a Player of the Week and four other selections to round out his Team of the Week, paying attention to the following criteria: 

  • Efficiency   
  • Stats   
  • Team and opposition strength   
  • Periods of influence in the game  
  • Being on a winning team (exceptional performances from players on losing teams will be considered for TOTW) 

The FocusHoops Team of the Week 

Rehana Khalil - Manchester Mystics, guard


Rehana Khalil took Player of the Week honours with a fine individual showing, leading Manchester Mystics to an enormous win over CoLA Southwark Pride.

Khalil scored efficiently at 66%, hitting a perfect 4/4 from beyond the arc, whilst leading her side on the glass.

Two assists, one steal and a block capped off 2023 in a big way for one of Manchester’s favourite hoopers.

Esther Kursite - CoLA Southwark Pride, forward


Esther Kursite put in a huge individual performance against Manchester on the road this weekend.

In her 34 minutes, Kursite bagged 21 points on 69% shooting, with all but one shot taken inside the paint.

The talented young forward was one board shy of a double-double but had four steals and two blocks without committing a single turnover in her 34 minutes of action.

Cristina Bigica - Bristol Academy Flyers, forward


Cristina Bigica led her side to victory over the Kestrels with an efficient 25 points on 58% shooting and just two boards shy of a double-double.

Bigica was fouled eight times, and hit an impressive 10/13 from the stripe whilst also dishing out two assists and swiping two steals in another all around display from the Flyers’ leader.

Harriet Welham - Endeavour Ipswich Basketball, guard


Harriet Welham shot efficiently in Ipswich’s nine point victory of Loughborough, with the captain scoring 29 points on 52% shooting.

Welham was fouled a staggering 11 times and made it count, scoring 10/16 from the charity stripe.

Welham was combative on the glass bringing down six boards, with one on offence.

Liv Forster - Endeavour Ipswich Basketball, guard


Liv Forster once again lit up the box score for Ipswich with a 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals performance in their win over Loughborough on Saturday.

Forster was at her most effective at the stripe knocking down nine of 14 free throws, having been fouled nine times in a bruising encounter.

Team basketball 

Manchester tame the Pride

Manchester Mystics will finish 2023 in the playoff places thanks to their home victory over the third place CoLA Southwark Pride.

The Mystics were led by Manchester basketball legend Rehana Khalil, who previously won the WNBL Cup with Stockport Lapwings in 2022.

Khalil finished with a 20-9 performance and was joined in double digits scoring by Irene Oboavwoduo (13 points) who is having a fine season in D1.

Favour Elabor was second-highest on the glass with six boards as Manchester came away with a huge victory.

CoLA were led by Esther Kursite who was one of the week’s most efficient players, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Ipswich outlast Loughborough

Ipswich and Loughborough had a physical coming together this weekend as the two teams racked up 51 trips to the foul line between them, with Ipswich taking 40 of them.

Ipswich finished with four players in double-digit scoring, chief amongst them being Harriet Welham (29pts), Liv Forster (22pts) and Yazmin Edwards (14pts).

Welham and Forster went to the line 30 times between them and made Loughborough pay, draining 19 of those attempts in a high scoring match-up.

Loughborough were led by Erin Caldwell who had 23 points off the bench in 32 minutes of floor time.

Honourable mentions

Kasia Neininger (ARU) - 11P/9R/2A/13EFF

Christabel Osarobo (IPS) - 9P/12R/3A/15EFF

Yazmin Edwards (IPS) - 14P/4R/2A/15EFF


Main image credit - Harry Collins