WBBL: Suns, Eagles and Riders all pick up important wins

Sevenoaks Suns, Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders all picked up wins in an exciting day of WBBL action on Sunday.

Newcastle Eagles came from behind at half time to comfortably beat Essex Rebels 69-56. Rebels had started the stronger of the two sides as they led by five points after the first quarter and had a 3-point advantage at the break.

Newcastle, however, had a dominant third quarter as they limited their opponents to eight points whilst scoring 17 themselves. This allowed them some breathing space to comfortably play the game out and win by 13 points.

Alison Gorrell and Maddy Mcvicar both finished on 18 points for the hosts as Eagles picked up their fifth win of the season. Lucrezia Costa starred for Rebels with a superb double-double performance of 18 points and 14 assists but she could not prevent her side slipping to their sixth defeat of the campaign.

Sevenoaks Suns overcame a spirited London Lions as they maintained their perfect WBBL Championship record. It was tight throughout with Lions leading after the first quarter and at half-time. Suns responded well in the second half and a 23-point third quarter followed by a 25-point final quarter saw them win by seven in a close fought game.

Sevenoaks TaYani Clark was the standout performer with a game-high 22 points whilst Cassie Breen led the scoring charts for Lions with 21 points.

The loss was only the Lions second this season with both being at the hands of Suns. For the hosts, they have now won 10 out of 10 this season as they stay in third place, having played less games than the teams around them.

In the days late tip-off Leicester Riders moved to joint top of the table as they beat Durham Palatinates 94-51. Riders controlled the game from the get-go and were ahead by 12 points at halftime. They continued their dominance in the second half, eventually winning by 43. They scored a massive 35 points in the final quarter.

Holly Winterburn finished with game-high 27 points as Riders won their sixth game on the bounce. Maya Brewer also had a good game, just missing out on a double-double performance with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

Leicester Riders closed the gap to league leaders London Lions on Saturday as Manchester Met Mystics edged a tense affair against Caledonia Pride.

The Riders ran out comfortable winners against Cardiff Met Archers as they picked up their fifth win on the bounce, whilst a clutch steal and finish from Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee secured a big win for the Mystics in the Scottish capital.

Leicester travelled to Cardiff knowing a win would secure their place in the playoffs, and they looked to do in style as the Riders flew out the gates with 29 points in the first quarter.

The Archers were looking for revenge over Leicester after their eight-point loss to the Riders just under a month ago, and made it a tighter affair in the middle two quarters as they looked to eat into a sizeable Leicester lead.

A convincing final quarter from the Riders saw them hold the Archers to only 10 points in the final period. Maya Brewer led all scorers with 18 points and Azania Stewart posted a double-double of 14 points to go with 10 rebounds as Leicester finished the game with five players in double figures for points scoring.

The day’s second and final game tipped off in Edinburgh with the Mystics looking to strengthen their playoff push against a Pride side who had lost their last five in a row.

There was little to separate the two sides throughout the ball game, with a nine-point Mystics lead early in the third the largest of the game, until the Pride fought back and made it a tie game with just under two minutes to go.

Up stepped Fong Lyew Quee who stripped the ball from Ella Doherty and drove to the basket for the game-winning score. Caledonia had the chance to tie the scores with the final possession of the game, however a crucial offensive rebound from Sophia Song secured a huge win for the Mystics.

Hannah Shaw led all scorers with 18 points to go with seven rebounds for the Mystics as they kept up their charge for the playoffs.

Both the London Lions and the Sevenoaks Suns continued their hot form in the Championship as they beat the Essex Rebels and the Nottingham Wildcats respectively on Good Friday.

The Lions tipped off against the Rebels first of all and gave plenty of game time to young prospects Valentina Klocker and Ines Goryanova, who scored a combined 19 points while Klocker managed an impressive double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Cassie Breen put up 17 points, while Stephanie Umeh scored 15 from the bench and Kennedy Leonard set-up her teammates 10 times, but the best performance came from captain Shanice Beckford-Norton, who scored 28 points as well as grabbing seven rebounds and making four steals.

Despite the 21-point margin, four of the five starters for the Rebels reached double figures for scoring with their captain Andrea Kohlhaas leading the way with 17 and Lucrezia Costa managed a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The biggest issue for the Rebels came on defence, particularly in the paint where they conceded 22 more points than they scored in the Lions’ paint as the Homeside grabbed far more rebounds and made six blocks too compared to the visitors two.

Meanwhile in Nottingham, the Wildcats surrendered the four-point lead they took into the third quarter, losing to the Suns by 12 points as Catherine Carr’s near triple-double of 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists inspired the visitors to victory.

The result keeps them unbeaten in the Championship, and their confidence will be sky-high as Renee Busch and Tayani Clark both put in impressive performances at both ends of the court, while Janice Monakana’s ten points off the bench proved crucial as the Suns bench outscored the Wildcats’ by the same amount.

Chelsey Shumpert again led the scoring in the absence of Jasmine Joyner, while Praise Egharevba grabbed a team-high of 11 rebounds and Tia Freeman and Moa Lundqvist scored a combined 21 points.

Despite managing ten less turnovers than the Suns, the Wildcats still lost by a margin in double-figures, which was mostly down to the difference in rebounds grabbed and lower field goal percentage than their opponents – and they will be hoping to be more efficient in the next game to re-discover their best form.