The WBBL annual High Five series is back where I was asked to identify five players that I believe deserve some recognition for their efforts this season.
I geared my picks around different facets of the game which I explain into more detail why.
Dominique Allen [Manchester Mystics]
The new additions to Manchester Mystics roster always pointed to them improving this season – although Georgia Jones gets all the rightly deserved headlines for the great season she is having, Dominique has been that glue type player that every team needs. She is averaging a near double double of 10.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and really gives Coach Jeff Jones’ team that added grit and inside presence on both ends of the floor. I feel she has been a massive part to their teams success this season, especially showing up in the big games!
Judit Fritz [Cardiff Met Archers]
The versatile forward continues each and every year to impress and improve in the top flight league. She has a heavy load on her shoulders with the team needing her to score every single game which isn’t always easy. She is the 2nd highest scorer in the league posting 21.3 points per game which also opens up the floor for other players to get easier shots as you have to key on her. Fritz is so valuable to the Archers who always gives them a shot of winning any game in the WBBL.
Deanne Hayward [Leicester Riders]
I did call at the start of the season that Leicester Riders would finish 3rd and they did one better getting the #2 spot so credit to them and Coach Matt Harber. You look at the US duo of Alex Smith who changing to the point guard spot this season has flourished as well as the newest member Erika Livermore being a game changer for the Riders posting 18.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
But for me, Dee Hayward has to get a big mention. She is the second leading scorer on the team with 12.5 points per game and has been solid all year. Not just a shooter anymore, adding the ability of getting to the basket has made her a tough cover for teams this season as well as her defensive tenacity you have a very good two-way player.
Kyla Nelson [Oaklands Wolves]
It has been a tough season for newcomers Oakland Wolves, but the young superstar has literally carried the team on her back and showed she can compete with the best in the country regardless of being 19 years old. Sitting at 10th in the league in scoring on 15.9 points per game is impressive, but this jumps higher across all competitions with an overall season average of 18.5 points per game – showing the punching power she has on offence. Just a fierce competitor, Kyla was a joy to coach last season and it’s been great to see her improvements this season.
Ashley Harris [Nottingham Wildcats]
This maybe a choice that is an obvious one as her name is fully printed into the WBBL. But for me, Ashley has to get a lot of credit for this season. Last year, Nottingham were fully loaded and aren’t as talented this year, but she has really embraced being the go-to player and leader. This has resulted in Coach Dave Greenaway’s team winning back-to-back league titles where Harris is posting monster numbers and currently sitting as the WBBL leading top scorer (25.3 points per game) and second in rebounds (11.3 rebounds per game). This will likely lead to her picking up the season MVP honours.