WBBL Trophy: First Round
Oaklands Wolves 53-104 Leicester Riders (19-37, 16-17, 5-27, 13-23)
(Wolves: Smith; 19, Gould; 15, George; 7 – Riders: Squires; 24, Arlen; 21, Fee; 15)
Manchester Met Mystics 68 vs 42 Cola Southwark Pride (22-15, 13-13, 15-6,18-8)
(Mystics: Sanchez Czerniecki; 22, Keltos; 21, Vourliotis; 8 – Pride: Jacobs; 10, Toualeu; 10, O’connell; 9)
Newcastle Eagles 90 vs 82 Nottingham Wildcats (22-30, 35-18, 15-14,18-20)
(Eagles: Justinak; 23, Lewis; 19, Fernandez Pardo; 19 – Wildcats: Stewart; 25, Whittington; 17, Nicholas; 17)
Sheffield Hatters 137 vs 72 Ipswich Basketball (29-20,36-15,37-20,35-17)
Hatters: Naylor; 23, Niang; 20, Wanink; 17 – Ipswich: Battese; 21, Forster; 18, Pearson; 15)
The first round of the Betty Codona WBBL Trophy continued this Sunday at the Essex Sports Arena, tipping off with the Oakland Wolves versus the Leicester Riders.
The Riders put on a strong performance en route to a 104-53 victory over the Wolves. They were led by Oliana Squires who finished with 24 points and Ashley Arlen with 21 points.
The Riders built an 18-point lead in the first quarter, and despite some struggles in the second, were able to build further momentum in the second half. Captain Ashley Arlen led the way with 19 first half points on 5 of 7 shooting from three-point range. Arlen was matched by Oliana Squires, who also added 19 points in the first half.
It was fast-paced action early as the teams traded baskets. Leicester got off the mark first through a jump shot by Mckenzie Johnston. Before Jorjah Smith drained a contested three-pointer for Oakland. Squires responded with a three-pointer of her own as the two teams jostled for the lead.
Leicester broke away with a seven point lead, with Squires tallying five quick points. With the Riders’ scoring duo shooting above 60% from three, the Riders quickly put an 18-point gap between them and their opponents. Arlen’s step-back three pointer closed out the impressive period of 38 Rider points.
In the second quarter, Oakland switched to a 1-3-1 zone and forced a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers from the Riders. Oakland’s Daisy Porter took advantage and scored on a spin move inside. Smith, who finished with 19 points, helped the Wolves to claw back with a three-pointer.
Leicester went cold briefly in the second quarter.
Oakland cut the lead back to 18, with the zone defence proving effective. Smith utilised a hesitation/crossover to freeze the defender and score an and one.
In the third quarter. however, Leicester regained control. The Riders opened the scoring with Arlen finding a cutting Johnston. Squires also connected with a straight on three pointer adding to her impressive points tally.
Smith connected on an and-one finish inside for the Wolves, as her team battled against a relentless Riders defence.
At the other end Emma Fee utilised an up-and-under for the score – causing Oakland Wolves Lee Ryan to call timeout.
Leicester connected on their 14th three-pointer in the game to open the fourth as Squires pushed her tally to 21 points. The Riders displayed precision ball movement and Squires pushed the tempo in the transition play to find Emma Fee, who skipped it to Jessica Eadsforth-Yates for three.
Constance Selby came off the bench to sink a pair of late three pointers as the Riders cruised past the 100-point mark and sealed the victory.
Leicester will now go on to face the Caledonia Gladiators in the second round.
In game two, WNBL Division 1’s COLA Southwark Pride faced off against the Manchester Mystics.
Arriving to a carnivalesque atmosphere of drums and chanting, both teams emerged with a fearless energy early, pushing the tempo, drawing charges and attempting to find easy opportunities inside.
It was a game of two halves; A seven-point Mystics lead was constantly challenged by the Pride during the second quarter. However in the second half the Mystics managed to pull away through the leadership and scoring prowess of Samantha Keltos, who finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
Keltos was the driving force for the Mystics, scoring 10 points in the opening quarter. She connected on a triple to kick off proceedings.
Shaelynne Sanchez Czerniecki, who had 22 points, followed up with a pair of back-to-back three-pointers. A third three from Keltos caused the Pride coach to call for a timeout.
Pride guard Blanche Toualeu responded with four quick points, before dishing to Emily O’connell for a three-pointer. Toualeu scored again from the corner to keep the game within reach at 22-15.
The second quarter was a stalemate, with neither team making any significant runs for the opening five minutes.
In the last five minutes, Felicia Jacobs worked along the baseline for a couple of buckets, scoring 8 of her 10 in the second quarter.
She was active defensively too – picking up a charge on the next possession.
At one point, the Pride had cut the 12 point lead down to 5 points, before Vourliotis knocked down a crucial three for the Manchester side. O’connell scored at the buzzer to cut the lead to 7 points.
In the second half, the Mystics outscored the Pride 33-14. After two consecutive offensive rebounds Sanchez Czerniecki knocked down a triple for her 13th point before finishing an and-one on the next play.
The Mystics defence tightened up and forced a shot clock violation from Southwark. However, turnover number 14 for Manchester left them unable to capitalise.
Sanchez Czerniecki and Leah McDerment opened the scoring for the Mystics. It was Keltos again who provided the offensive spark, bagging a three pointer to push her tally to 21 and the lead to 17. A score from Princess Adeogun pushed the lead to 17.
True to their reputation, the Southwark side battled until the final whistle in a game that was competitive throughout, but they couldn’t quite get past the WBBL side.
In a much anticipated clash between the Nottingham Wildcats and the Newcastle Eagles, the Eagles were able to use a 25-8 run in the second quarter to take control of the game and finish with a win. Maggie Justinak scored 10 of her 23 points in the second frame. Centre Antoinette Lewis was consistent through four quarters and added 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Both teams got off to a flying start offensively, each deploying contrasting strategies.
The Eagles’ objective was to feed Antoinette Lewis the ball inside and let her go to work on the block, kicking out to open shooters on double teams. The Wildcats spread the floor and looked to use spacing, ball movement and quickness to find open looks.
Lewis went to work early with six points for the Eagles. Nottingham’s Imani Whittington had 11 first quarter points as she scored at the basket and from mid-range. Kayla Shaw also had 10 points – connecting on a pair of three pointers.
The Wildcats built an eight-point lead in the first quarter and looked sharp on offence in the opening period, shooting 75% from deep. Whittington dazzled the crowd with a smooth crossover that sent her defender the wrong way; bringing her tally to nine points.
In the second quarter, Newcastle Eagles came storming forward on the offensive end. Trailing by eight at the end of the first, they had built a strong seven-point lead by halftime. Maggie Justinak connected on three three-pointers, scoring 10 points in the quarter.
Alongside her scoring efforts, Marina Fernandez Pardo scored 7 points in the period leading to lead her side.
Rachael Bland opened the third quarter scoring for the Eagles as she knocked down a pair of free-throws and Fernandez Pardo finished a floater through contact.
The Eagles added to their lead with a three from Katie Nolan cap of a 6-0 run. Whittington desperately fought to keep the Wildcats alive with Kennedy Nicholas and Shaw also scoring.
Newcastle’ 12 turnovers proved costly as the Wildcats managed to get the lead down to 10.
In the final period, Newcastle turned again to Lewis who scored back-to-back moves inside en route to 19 points and 15 rebounds. Following two offensive rebounds Nolan finished the play.
For Nottingham, Nicholas bolstered her tally of 15 points – scoring inside of the pick and roll.
The Wildcats’ late run culminated in Mari Stewart knocking down a three-pointer.
With the lead at six points, the Eagles found Lewis inside for a last time, as she established deep position and scored inside and the Eagles picked up the win.
In the final game of a brilliant weekend of WBBL action at the Essex Sports Centre, the Sheffield Hatters took on a young and hungry Ipswich Basketball Academy team.
It was a historic moment for the Ipswich side, who were playing in relatively close proximity to their home, and were welcomed to a loud and supportive crowd. The Hatters victory was a valuable experience for the Ipswich side.
The game was doubly historic as the Hatters’ 137 points is the most points scored in a single WBBL game. Sheffield topped their own record of 132 points, which they set in Feb 2015 against Leeds (132-41).
Ipswich were led by captain Ava Battese, who finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds. It wasn’t an easy fight against the Sheffield Hatters, who were in great form, adding almost 30 points in each quarter.
Helen Naylor finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists, while Karly Murphy had 16 points, 20 rebounds and 7 assists.
Georgia Gayle knocked down the first of many three pointers in the game. Lena Niang scored on a backdoor cut in the opening minutes as the Hatters launched into an early 9-0 run.
It was Battese who scored from deep to put Ipswich on the scoreboard.
Christabel Osarobo went coast-to-coast as Ipswich looked to utilise their transition play. They scrambled on defence with a superb block by Louisa Gibbins leading to a Battese three-pointer at the other end.
Millie Pearson got on the scoreboard with a driving layup, the constant full-court press doing some unlikely damage. At the end of the first period, Ipswich trailed by nine points.
In the second quarter the Hatters opened up with a 21-1 run. Naylor scored 6 points and had Murphy 4 points – Charli Wroe and Gayle also added three pointers to their total.
With the mounting pressure, the run was halted by Battese scoring off the Forster assist. However the deficit was now 27.
Niang scored on the break and Hannah Shaw came off the bench to get in on the action. Olivia Forster added a three to her 18-point effort for Ipswich.
To open the second half, Sheffield pulled away further with an and one from Lena Niang and Helen Naylor kept pouring it on.
In the final five minutes of the third, Nicolette Fairley chimed in with a corner-jumper and Ipswich coach Nick Deane called for timeout.
Inspired after the break, Ipswich’s Saruna Gudza made a layup but Naomi Campbell knocked down three-pointers to extend the lead even further. Sheffield were carried over the 100 point mark by Fairley who connected on back-to-back scores inside.
The Hatters finished with seven players in double figures and continued to spread the scoring duties in the final period –. taking victory against an Ipswich team that battled valiantly throughout.