WBBL: Riders go clear at top of the table

Leicester Riders came out on top 66-39 against Newcastle Eagles in a lively encounter at the Eagles Community Arena on Sunday afternoon, a win that sees the side go clear at the top the WBBL Championship.

Leicester led from tip-off and were the dominant team early on, a theme that continued throughout the match. After a bright start Riders had a 14-point lead of 27-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Riders kicked on after the first and went into the half time break up by 25. The third quarter offered the hosts some hope as they outscored Riders in a low scoring quarter, but Riders would hold out to secure a 27-point win.

Captain Kate Oliver was the standout player for the visitors, finishing with a double double of 22 points and 12 rebounds as she led her team to their third straight win of the season, maintaining their perfect start to the campaign.

For Eagles, Alison Gorrell put in a good performance as she contributed 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists but it was not enough for the hosts as they remain bottom of the table.

Saturday afternoon saw big WBBL Championship wins for Riders and Nottingham Wildcats.

Leicester overcame Caledonia Pride – who were playing their first game for over 300 days – by 91-61 north of the border to remain unbeaten in all competitions, behind 39 bench points as all nine players scored at least five points, with five of those in double-figures.

After tight opening exchanges, Leicester blew the game open midway through the first period as they hit an 18-4 surge over six minutes, Sara Hinriksdottir hitting seven of those points off the bench as Riders led 32-16 after ten minutes.

They never looked back from there, pouring in another 25 second stanza points to settle the game before the half as Hinriksdottir led all scorers with 19 points and Kate Oliver also came from the bench to score eight and grab 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Nottingham were equally dominant in the first half of their game as they beat Essex Rebels 98-67, bouncing back from defeat to Leicester in their last outing to go 2-1 in the league.

Wildcats scored a massive 63 of those points in the first half and they had a double-digit lead almost straight away after opening the game 18-5 in little over five minutes, including three-pointers from Siobhan Prior and Chelsey Shumpert.

That was followed by a huge 35-point second period in which they added another six triples – two each for Shumpert and Rebecca Dwomoh – as the lead reached an unassailable 63-32 by half time before ending at the second highest points total of the season, only behind the 101 they scored against Manchester Met Mystics in November.

Wildcats shot 13-30 (43%) from three-point range, with Shumpert hitting five of those on her way to a game high 20 points, adding nine assists; while Jasmine Joyner had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.