London Lions guard Kennedy Leonard set the new record for the most assists in a single WBBL game this afternoon as her team comfortably beat the Caledonia Pride, while the Leicester Riders also picked up a victory thanks to a classy performance against the Newcastle Eagles.
The afternoon tipped off with the newly crowned BBL Trophy champions London Lions hosting Scottish team Caledonia Pride, and despite good displays from a few of the visiting players, the Lions had too much for them to handle as Leonard dropped an incredible 21 assists for her teammates, as well as making an impressive eight steals and scoring 13 points.
Stephanie Umeh again was fantastic off the bench as she managed a game-high 27 points, tying forward Valentina Klocker for the most rebounds on the team too with a total of eight while Cassie Breen and Paige Robinson proved efficient scorers as they managed a combined 21 points with an 80% field goal percentage each.
Maud Ranger led the Pride in scoring as she added 19 points to go with her nine rebounds – a total only beaten in the entire game by forward Sian Phillips, who had managed a double-double with ten rebounds and 16 points while making four steals, a total which only Ranger could get close to for her team as she managed three.
Meanwhile, in Leicester, the pressure was on the Riders to get a victory as the Lions temporarily opened the gap by a further two points in the WBBL Championship standings, but the home side kept their nerve as they put in a dominant shift to beat Newcastle Eagles by 25 points.
Amber Smith led the scoring for the Riders who found plenty of join behind the arc as they managed ten three-pointers, with Smith managing to knock down two herself as she put up 17 points to go with her six rebounds.
Azania Stewart also managed six rebounds to tie Smith with the most in her team, as Holy Winterburn set-up her teammates eight times to go along with her eight points while subs Katie Januszewska and Maya Brewer both reached double-figures for scoring.
The Eagles will look at Alison Gorrell’s performance as a sign of hope for the rest of the season, as she managed a game-high of 18 points as she also grabbed six rebounds, a total only beaten in the entire game by her teammates Deborah Rodriguez Perez and Orieoma Chukwu-Etu who managed seven – but Newcastle will be looking to address the issues offensively as their defensive game looks stronger.
The results leave just two points standing between the Lions and the Riders in first and second place respectively but with Leicester having a game in hand, all is still to play for. At the bottom end of the table, ninth placed Newcastle Eagles and tenth placed Caledonia Pride remain four points apart – but with the Pride having two games in hand.
The day prior, Sevenoak Suns, Oaklands Wolves and Leicester Riders all picked up home wins today while London Lions also travelled back to the capital with a win.
Sevenoaks Suns extended their unbeaten streak in the day’s early tip-off with a convincing 93-55 win over Durham Palatinates. Suns put in a dominant performance as they comfortably dismantled their opponents.
They raced into an early 6 point lead after the first quarter, a lead that would only get bigger as the match went on. They led by 18 at half time and eventually just fell short of a triple-digit score as they finished on 93.
Catherine Carr led her teams scoring with a superb double-double performance of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Lies Van Straaten led the scoring for the visitors with 14 points as her team slipped to their tenth loss of the season and remain bottom of the WBBL Championship.
Oaklands Wolves came out 57-52 victors against Essex Rebels with a superb performance. In a tight affair, it was a game of narrow margins. Rebels found themselves ahead after the first quarter only to be behind by five at the half time break.
A 20 point third quarter from Wolves opened up some daylight between them and their opponents and they were able to hang on and play out the last quarter well. Melita Emmanual Carr narrowly missed out on a double-double as she finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, at the top of the Wolves scoring charts.
Table-toppers London Lions once again put in an impressive performance as they beat Cardiff Met Archers 91-73. Lions were in control of the game throughout as they made it 10 out of 11 wins in the league.
Stephanie Umeh finished with a game-high 19 points for Lions, whilst Kennedy Leonard finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 assists. Shannon Hatch led the scoring for Archers with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Leicester Riders beat Manchester Met Mystics 65-57 in the day’s late tip-off. They held off a late comeback from Mystics to move to a 9-1 record in the league. Riders won the first two quarters 20-13 to create a healthy 14 point lead a half time.
Although Mystics won the second half they fell just short as they lost by 8 points. Azania Stweart provided 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Riders. Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee finished with a game-high 15 points for Mystics.