We continue our popular ‘High Five’ series with Manchester Mystics’ play-caller Rob Fairley, who lets us know which five players he wants to give props to from 2015-16!
Jenaya Wade-Fray (Brixton Topcats)
Brixton haven’t had the best season this year, but I feel a special mention should go to Jenaya for her performances. She is a player we really struggled to contain and was the difference-maker in last weekend’s Play-Off or bottom place deciding game. She shot well on both occasions when playing us, scoring 30 points each time as we struggled to stop her getting her shot off. It’s still a sore point losing, but you have to take your hat off to a player that has been a thorn in the side every time we have played – she had 19 points against us on her debut last year. Yes, if you could give it a rest next time against us Jenaya, it would be appreciated!
Abigail Asoro (Team Northumbria)
At the other end of the table, Northumbria have maintained their position second in the table despite a number of injuries. Abigail has played both inside and out and provided a great inside presence in the absence of the injured Diana Voynova. As well as having 18 points and 23 rebounds against us (again, please stop it Abigail!), she has averaged 11 and 11 for the year, which I think is particularly impressive considering she had been injured and has not really played for a couple of years.
Martina Matejcikova (Manchester Mystics)
I wanted to give a special mention to one of our players, Martina, for the contributions she’s made on and off the floor this year. I was really impressed from the moment she started practicing with us. Despite a small frame, she is a deceivingly tough player and always seemed to be knocking around with players much stronger than her. Her stats have been really good for us and leads us in scoring, assists, steals and blocks, as well as being up there in rebounds too. Off the floor, she interacts with the kids and spends a lot of time with our community players at camps and sessions and has done it all with a really positive attitude despite it being a tough season!
Amber Stokes (Nottingham Wildcats)
First up, I owe Amber an apology! I saw her play at a pre-season tournament and confidently declared ‘Hmmm, she’s ok but not that great’. Well I guess I have to eat some humble pie! I’ll happily admit I grossly underestimated Amber’s game. She has been a fantastic defender, great leader and an elite distributor. Her athleticism makes her exciting to watch, as is the way she will defend the opposition’s best player and really set the tone for the game. On top of that, she has an ability to get her team-mates involved – as shown by her 4.6 assists per game. Oh and she’s the leading scorer of the top of the league team!
Helen Naylor (Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters)
Helen is always top or near top of the scoring charts, season after season (since I’ve been involved anyway) and this year she’s also 5th in assists, which is something you don’t think off when it comes to an out and out scorer. What impresses me about Helen is that she can go unnoticed in a game and you think you have done a good job guarding her, look at the box score at the end of the game and realise that she’s actually scored nearly 20! As long as she is part of Sheffield, they will always be a dangerous team to play against and she shows no sign of slowing down any time soon….oh joy…..!
You can follow Coach Fairley @fairley13