We were asked to select our WBBL Team of the Year, for the league’s annual High Five series. Check out our selections below, then read the article in full HERE!
Alex Smith – Leicester Riders
A genuine triple-double threat from the guard spot, Smith is one of the league’s elite. The tenacious playmaker noticeably elevates the play of her teammates, setting the tone on both ends of the floor with her brand of energetic, high-octane basketball. Riders enjoyed an incredible season, reaching the Trophy Final and placing 2nd in the Championship – outperforming the expectations of many. Smith impressed throughout the campaign, doubling her assists tally and keeping turnovers in check.
Alison Gorrell – Team Northumbria
Gorrell has been a force for Northumbria this season, elevating her production to help compensate for an injury-plagued roster. Despite being the focus of the opposition defence, the American guard poured in 21 points a game, hit 38% overall from deep, and looked as comfortable as anyone from mid-range. Gorrell’s smooth style isn’t a substitute for grit and determination, having pocketed 2.5 steals per contest and spearheaded Northumbria to a .555% Championship record.
Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns
Not many would have pegged Sevenoaks to win silverware, before the start of the season, in an objectively deeper, more skilful and competitive league. However, the Suns delivered a spectacular 2016-17 campaign led by Carr. The versatile wing is unquestionably one of the league’s most electrifying scorers, able to find the hoop from a myriad of positions on the court. Carr’s ability to also keep the ball moving, spot an open team-mate and pass out of the double team ensures the Suns remain balanced offensively and exciting to watch. Instrumental to the success of the Suns across all competitions, you can usually pencil Carr in for at least 18 points, five rebounds and five assists a night.
Ashley Harris – Nottingham Wildcats
Statistically speaking, the productivity of Harris compares favourably among the other elite performers in almost any given metric. Leading the league in points and defensive rebounds, having amassed an eye-popping 13 double-doubles, Her unrelenting dominance is perhaps somewhat taken for granted. Able to stretch the floor, beyond the 3-point line, and bang bodies in the post with equal effectiveness, the perennial Team of the Week honouree is a constant mismatch for the opposition. A vital cog in the Wildcats’ successful defence of their Championship crown, Harris has put together a comprehensive MVP candidacy.
Tricia Oakes – Caledonia Pride
An unwavering force in the paint, Oakes’ value extends beyond the box score. Deceptively agile and long, able to defend the pick-and-roll and stay in front of ball handlers, no defender altered more shots than Oakes this year. A legitimate two-way threat, the 6’4” centre’s ability to screen and roll and finish effectively around the rim provides her sharp-shooting teammates the space required to knock down long-range jumpers. In no small part to Oakes’ consistency, an almost automatic double-double, Pride only narrowly missed out on a Play-Off berth in their debut season.
Note: article original written for, and publish on, WBBL.org.uk.