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The pandemic is pausing Makana Stone’s latest basketball season. (Photo property Loughborough University)

The pause will be longer.

With Britain in a national lockdown after a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, elite-level basketball has been sidelined.

At least for a bit.

Coupeville graduate Makana Stone, who plays for Loughborough University, was scheduled to return to action January 9.

But the Riders, who went to winter break boasting a 5-2 record, postponed their clash with Southwark.

Now, Basketball England has gone a step further, announcing Wednesday that all Women’s National Basketball League Division One games will be put on hold until Jan. 30 because of the lockdown.

That takes games against Cardiff (Jan. 16) and Worcester (Jan. 23) off the schedule for Stone and Co., with the hope Loughborough will return to play Jan. 30 against Bristol.

The pause for WNBL1 teams is better than what non-elite senior and junior teams received, as their seasons were outright cancelled.

Basketball England plans to employee COVID lateral flow testing for its players, which generally returns results in 30 minutes.

We have taken note of the increased risk currently posed by the rate of COVID-19 and the concerns of our clubs and players at elite level,” said Basketball England CEO Stewart Kellett. “(We) will expand the testing currently taking place to keep everyone involved as safe as possible.”

The Riders currently sit a game back of league-leader Ipswich (6-1), who they toppled thanks to a buzzer-beater by Stone.

Loughborough is 5-1 since the Coupeville grad pulled on a uniform, and the former Wolf has been among the best players in the league.

Stone has recorded a double-double in every game she’s played in England, tallying 103 points, 95 rebounds, 13 assists, and 13 steals.

She’s #2 in the WNBL in rebounding (15.8 a night), #3 in efficiency (159.0), #7 in scoring (17.2), and #8 in free throw percentage (79.3%).

When Stone is not pursuing her hoop dreams, the Whitman College grad is busy earning a Master’s in Exercise Physiology.

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Makana Stone recorded her sixth straight double-double Saturday, lifting her English hoops squad to another win. (Photo property of Loughborough University)

The American Assassin abides!

Scoring the game-winning point for the second weekend in a row, Coupeville grad Makana Stone propelled her British basketball squad to another big win.

This time out the former Wolf drained a pressure-packed free throw with just seven ticks left on the clock Saturday, as Loughborough University held off Nottingham Trent 71-70.

With the win, the Riders head to winter break boasting a 5-2 record, 5-1 since Stone joined the lineup.

Loughborough is in a tie for second-place in the 12-team Women’s National Basketball League, a game back of Ipswich (6-1), a team the Riders upended last week.

This time out, Stone and her mates faced another rugged test, with Coupeville’s progeny emerging as the best player on the floor once again.

Despite some early foul trouble leaving her stuck to the bench, once she got back in the game, Nottingham had no real answer for the silky-smooth one.

She dropped in 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, while also snatching a team-high 13 rebounds and doling out four assists in just 26 minutes of action.

It was the sixth double-double in as many overseas games for Stone, who opened the tilt by pumping in the first basket of the afternoon.

From there, Loughborough bounded out to a 21-16 advantage by the first break.

Two early fouls left Stone out of play for a stretch, though, and Nottingham took advantage, using a 20-13 run in the second frame to net a 36-34 lead by the half.

Freed from her captivity, the double-double machine went off in the third quarter, ringing up nine points, though the Riders still trailed 53-52 headed to the final 10 minutes of action.

Robyn Ainge tickled the twines for a long three-ball (off an assist from Stone), however, staking Loughborough to a a 55-53 lead with just under nine minutes to play.

The Riders never trailed again, pushing the margin out to as much as six points, before Nottingham used a late 4-0 push to knot things back up at 70-70.

Enter Stone, exit any chance at Loughborough losing.

Through six games, the Cow Town hero has compiled 103 points, 95 rebounds, 13 assists, and 13 steals.

With winter break hitting in England, Stone and Co. will be off for three weeks now, with their next game Saturday, January 9 against Southwark.

 

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Makana Stone lines up a shot. (Photo property Loughborough University)

She’s flying up the charts.

Four games into her hoops adventure in England, Coupeville grad Makana Stone is drawing notice from National Basketball League coaches, players, and fans.

The former Wolf is second among WNBL Division 1 players in rebounding, snatching 15.3 caroms a game.

Stone is also third in efficiency (103.0), fifth in points (16.3), and seventh in free throw percentage (77.3).

Her school, Loughborough University, is 3-2 overall, 3-1 since the prairie superstar joined the lineup.

The Riders, who are tied with Nottingham for third-place in the 12-team WNBL, get their biggest test of the season this coming Saturday, December 12.

That’s when they face off with league-leader Ipswich (6-0), which is led by Gonzaga signee Esther Little.

As you mentally prep for that titanic tilt, take 30 seconds to marinate in Stone lighting defenders up, all day, every day.

 

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Makana Stone put up her fourth-straight double-double Saturday in England. (Photo property of Loughborough University)

She’s rampaging across Europe.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone continues to show up and show out, dominating play in Britain’s National Basketball League.

Playing in her fourth game for Loughborough University, the former Wolf collected her fourth-straight double-double Saturday, throwing down 18 points and snatching a game-high 11 rebounds.

Paced by their American assassin, the Riders rolled to an 88-71 win over Cardiff Met.

With the victory, Loughborough is 3-2 on the season, 3-1 with Stone in uniform.

And that only loss came after refs fouled out Stone and a fellow starter, which allowed their foes to go on a game-closing 26-2 run.

Saturday’s game against Cardiff Met went much smoother, with Loughborough outscoring the Archers in every quarter to grab a convincing win.

Up just 20-19 at the first break, the Riders stretched the margin out to 43-37 at the half, then 69-60 after three quarters.

Cardiff was led by the hot-shooting Amber Deane, who torched the nets for a game-high 30 points, but Loughborough countered her by getting solid scoring across the roster.

Molly James tossed in 23 to go with Stone’s 18, while Hannah Bird came off the bench to chip in with 15.

Stone, who was a perfect 8-8 at the free throw line Saturday, has rung up 65 points, 61 rebounds, nine assists, 11 steals, and a blocked shot this season.

She and her mates return to action next Saturday, December 12, when they face undefeated Ipswich.

A week later, Loughborough plays Nottingham, which is led by Stone’s running mate during her four years at Whitman College – three-point bomber Mady Burdett.

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CHS grad Makana Stone will study and play basketball in England this year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Makana Stone is taking her talents to the land of tea and crumpets.

Having graduated this spring from Whitman College, the former Coupeville High School hoops star headed to England in mid-September, where she’ll continue her classroom studies and hardcourt schoolings.

Stone, who earned a B.A. in Biology during her time in Walla Walla, will attend Loughborough University, located in Leicestershire county in the East Midlands.

While there she’ll work towards a Master’s in Exercise Physiology.

Stone used up her American college sports eligibility, playing four seasons at Whitman, where she finished as the #5 scorer and #2 rebounder in program history.

But while in England, she can play for her new school, which competes in a semi-professional league.

Games are currently planned to begin in January.

Loughborough, founded in 1909, boasts one of the more famous chancellors among English schools, with four-time Olympic medal winner Sebastian Coe leading the school since 2017.

Lord Coe, as he’s known these days, was a top middle-distance runner who claimed gold medals in the 1500 meters at both the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

He set nine outdoor and three indoor world records, including a run of three new world records in 41 days back in 1979, then moved into politics as a member of Parliament.

Stone is no slouch herself, however.

One of the most dominant athletes to ever wear the red and black in Coupeville, and also one of the most kind and caring teammates I’ve ever written about, she was a standout soccer, basketball, and track and field star.

She won the first 28 races of her high school track career, a mark no other Wolf has approached, and finished her prep career with 84 wins and seven state meet medals.

And yet, the happiest I’ve ever seen her in an athletic moment involved someone else.

It came during her senior season, when she led teammates in collectively screaming their heads off as CHS freshman Danny Conlisk pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win in a major relay race.

Stone led the CHS basketball team to three-straight Olympic League titles and a trip to state, is the program’s #3 career scorer and (likely) #1 rebounder, and finally let Kacie Kiel get that career-ending locker room hug she so badly wanted and needed.

Klahowya’s basketball players, without telling their coach, brought Makana a Senior Night present, watched her go off for a super-efficient 20 and 20 in a huge Wolf win, and still exited with huge smiles on their face.

After high school, Stone tore up the hardwood at Whitman, making the most starts (92) in program history, helping the Blues go 94-20 and advance to the NCAA tourney three times between 2016-2020.

Whitman was hours away from playing in the Sweet 16 at this year’s tourney when COVID-19 shut down collegiate athletics.

Finishing her American college career with 1,337 points and 837 rebounds, Stone was the Northwest Conference MVP, was selected for the Beyond Sports Women’s Collegiate All-Star Game, and received All-Region and All-American honors.

She was also a nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year, a member of the NWC First Team All-Academic squad, and copped Whitman’s Mignon Borleske Award — the school’s highest athletic honor for a female athlete.

When she wasn’t torching the net, Stone participated in the Whitman College mentor program, was an ACE representative, and served as a member of the Whitman Elementary School Science Night Committee.

Using her time well, Coupeville’s progeny was also a presenter at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, while obtaining multiple internships.

Now, she’s off to England, after using her final Whitman interviews to rave about the skills of Blues teammates, praising the three-ball artistry of Mady Burdett with the same sparkle in her eye she always had when talking up fellow Wolves like Sylvia Hurlburt or Lindsey Roberts.

I’m calling it now. Give her two years and she’s the new Queen.

Look me in the eye. Am I lying?

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