WNBL1 recap: Week 10 (19/20 December 2020) - live streams, stats and more

The curtain came down on the WNBL for 2020, but not before a pair of thrilling contests that could be in with a shout for game of the year.

Both fixtures this weekend were decided by a just a couple of points, with both winning teams grabbing the lead with less than 10 seconds remaining.

It was worth the wait for fans of Loughborough and Bristol though as this weekend's road sides ended up pulling out victories by the narrowest of margins.

We have a recap of both games below, and each result is also clickable if you wish to view the live stats.

Bristol come up clutch

Cardiff Met Archers (0-3) 72-74 Bristol Academy Flyers (2-2)

A huge pair of late free throws from Bristol's Flo Ward pushed the Flyers to a slender 74-72 win in Cardiff on Saturday.

With the hosts leading by as many as 10 late in the third quarter, Bristol put together a rapid 13-2 run to erase the deficit and lead themselves early in the fourth.

Cardiff refused to go quietly though, once again moving ahead behind baskets from Katie Richards and Isobel Bunyan, before Ward tied the game up at 72-72 with 29 ticks remaining.

After a miss from Cardiff's Amber Deane, Ward was once again put to the test with eight seconds remaining as she went to the line for two late free throws. Built for the big moments, the reliable guard bagged both shots to push the Flyers ahead for good.

Richards would take one final shot at winning the game for the hosts, but her triple couldn't find the target as Bristol were left to celebrate.

Despite the disappointment of her final shot, Cardiff's talented forward was able to stay positive: "It was a super close game, and really competitive," said Richards.

"Although it was a tough loss, I think the improvement we've made over the last three weeks is amazing, and can't wait to see what 2021 brings for us as a team."

Ward's late game heroics would see her finish on 28 points, with team mate Mai Zilbeti once again impressing to finish close behind with 26.

Richards finished with 13 points and a trio of rebounds as Deane top scored with 20.

Loughborough's last laugh

Nottingham Trent University (3-6) 70-71 Loughborough Riders (5-2)

For the second game in a row, Loughborough came out victorious by just a single point, this time topping Nottingham 71-70.

The Riders beat leaders Ipswich 77-76 a week ago and pulled out another clutch performance against NTU, with Manaka Stone's free throw enough to push the visitors ahead with seven seconds remaining.

Nottingham would have one more chance to steal the W, getting the ball into the hands of captain Vicky Gray with just a few ticks left.

Sadly for the hosts, her triple was snuffed out by a Robyn Ainge block, keeping the Riders' lead intact as the final buzzer sounded.

The win was Loughborough's fourth in a row as they end 2020 on a high, though the same can't be said for NTU. This weekend's loss makes it five in a row for last season's WNBL National Cup finalists, with three of those losses coming by five points or less.

American Stone once again impressed for her side, her 18 point, 13 rebound double-double paced the Riders in both categories, with Katie Januszewska playing the full 40 to finish with 11 points.

Evi Dekker's 17 points led the way for NTU, with Isabel Bueriberi's 14 boards helping the hosts to edge the rebound battle 48-47.

This weekend's results:

Saturday 19 December

1pm - Cardiff Archers 72-74 Bristol Academy Flyers - LIVE STATS
2pm - Nottingham Trent University 70-71 Loughborough Riders - LIVE STATS

Main image credit - B.East Photography