- National Teams
In a replay of last season’s National Final, UWIC Archers defeated Sheffield Hatters 56-52 to squash their hopes of the treble and avenge last year’s loss.
The Hatters got the best of UWIC twice in the regular season and started the game very strongly going up early in the first quarter. However, both team struggled to really get going, neither side finding their shooting touch in the first few minutes. Kate Butters had all but one of UWIC’s seven first quarter points whilst Sheffield pulled away to an eight point lead.
UWIC woke up defensively in the second quarter, slowing down Shanna Oaddams resulting in Sheffield’s offense drying up a little. They also started to keep Rosalee Mason off the boards a little (though Mason still finished with 10 boards) and going into the half UWIC had cut the lead to just 3 after Butters drained a big three with time winding down.
Within minutes of being out of the locker room, Hatters went back up by 8 thanks to the play of Helen Naylor and Shanna Oaddams, on their way to 8 and 12 points respectively. Sheffield hung on for the rest of the quarter to keep a five point lead going into the fourth.
It wasn’t until three minutes into the quarter that UWIC began to look like they had a shot. A good defensive phase for UWIC forced a couple of turnovers with Collins and Butters proving too much to handle. Both players got to the line and iced their free throws to keep chipping away at the defending champions’ lead. A good finish from Collins, sick move inside from Mia Spasowska and a make from Hoffman and the game was tied, for the first time since the opening tip, just two minutes to go in regulation. The Hatters had decent looks down the stretch but missed six shots in the final 90 seconds. UWIC continued to be aggressive, with Hoffman, Butters and Collins getting to the line and making clutch free throws to seal the game and their first Division 1 championship.
MVP went to runner up Player of the Year, Stef Collins, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a block (leading her team in every category). A great season for Collins (who was also named BUCS Finals MVP) leading UWIC to finally achieving the trophy they have been working for since getting promoted to Division 1.
You can see the FIBA Live Stats here.