The 2021-22 Molten WBBL Team of the Year, as voted by WBBL Head Coaches, includes two London 2012 Olympians from the league-winning London Lions, alongside a former league MVP and two American stars in their first season on these shores who have made a big impact for their teams.
Jo Leedham-Warner – London Lions
The only unanimous selection in the team, London 2012 Olympian Jo Leedham-Warner was inspirational in her first season back on these shores following an illustrious career at the highest levels of European basketball in France, Poland, Turkey and the EuroLeague Women. Leading Lions to a first-ever WBBL Championship title, unbeaten at 24-0, along with the WBBL Cup and WBBL Trophy, she averaged 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals per game, ranking first in the league in steals, first in field goal percentage (56%), second in three-point percentage (43%) and tenth in overall scoring. Perhaps most iconic, a season highlight came in the WBBL Trophy Final live on Sky Sports as she threw herself to the floor to grab a loose ball and assist a teammate with a pass over the back of her head, among 14 points, six rebounds and six assists in that game.
Brooklyn Pannell – Nottingham Wildcats
American guard Brooklyn Pannell finished as the leading scorer in the league as Nottingham Wildcats finished fifth in the WBBL Championship – maintaining a record of a top-six finish in every WBBL season – and made the Play-off semi-finals. Wildcats had slipped out of the Play-off places at one stage until they finished with four straight wins, Pannell scoring 89 points in three games over the space of five days in April, including a season-high 35 in a key win over Durham Palatinates, also scoring 21 in a big East Midlands Derby win in the Play-off quarter-finals. She was the only player in the league to average more than 20 points per game, was also third in steals (three per game), and grabbed more than five rebounds per outing.
Cat Carr – Sevenoaks Suns
Last season’s league MVP Cat Carr makes the Molten WBBL Team of the Year for the fifth consecutive season, extending her record as the player with the most appearances in league history, after leading Sevenoaks Suns to second place in the WBBL Championship and the finals of both the Play-offs and the WBBL Trophy. Finishing the campaign with amazing averages of 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, she was the only player in the league to finish top ten in points (7th), assists (4th) and defensive rebounds (9th). Fittingly, she posted three triple-doubles in the campaign, and often in big games, including 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Essex Rebels in the Play-off quarter-finals, and 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in the Trophy semi-final win over Leicester Riders.
Laken James – Caledonia Pride
Pride were a form team over the second half of the season, winning 10 of their last 12 league games to finish in their highest ever placing of sixth and make the Play-off semi-finals for the first time, with American star Laken James a driving force behind that as she becomes the first Pride player to ever make the Molten WBBL Team of the Year. She featured in the weekly All-Star 5 three times in the last four weeks of the season and finished as the WBBL’s third-leading scorer with 19 points per game, fourth in steals with three per contest, and as the ninth leading three-point shooter at an accuracy of 37%, also posting eight rebounds and three assists per outing. She had a season-best double-double of 31 points and 11 rebounds as Pride scored a big win over third-placed Sheffield Hatters in April and averaged 21 points, six assists and five rebounds in the post-season.
Azania Stewart – London Lions
A fellow London 2012 Olympian, London’s centre Azania Stewart was a defensive linchpin for the WBBL’s best defensive team and among the league’s best players in the paint in a second WBBL campaign for another player whose career took her all over the world, including Spain, Australia, and the highest level of college basketball at Florida. Stewart averaged 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block in the league, ranked third overall for two-point percentage (57%) and sixth in blocked shots. She was dominant in their early-season WBBL Cup run, averaging 15 points and nine rebounds in the competition, and winning the Cup Final MVP award with 20 points, on perfect 9-9 shooting, and six rebounds live on Sky Sports at the Utilita Arena, Birmingham.