WNBL Round Up - Second Half of Season Begins - Hoopsfix.com

WNBL Round Up – Second Half of Season Begins

This weekend marked the beginning of the second half of the WNBL season, where the 8 teams were split into the top four and bottom four.

The top four, which include Sheffield Hatters, Nottingham Wildcats, Loughborough Riders and Cardiff Archers will now face each other home and away to attempt to grab the two automatic qualifying spots for the Final Four.

In the bottom four, Sevenoaks Suns, Barking Abbey, Team Northumbria and Manchester Mystics will battle it out for the 2 remaining final four places.

The top four’s fixtures began with Cardiff Archers losing narrowly to Nottingham Wildcats and Sheffield Hatters securing a home win against Loughborough Riders.

The Wildcats began the game strongly and with a 21-12 advantage after the first quarter the Wildcats looked to be in the driving seat for the remainder of the game. However, the complete opposite was true as the Archers went on a 22-10 run in the second quarter, giving them a 3 point advantage at half time.

The second half was much more like the competition seen between the two teams in the first half of the season, as they traded baskets much of the first part of the third quarter. The Wildcats were able to gain a 5 point advantage towards the end of the third and despite only one point separating the two teams in the final stanza box score, the home side managed to keep their composure and see out a three point win.

Adrien Ritchie continued to show her impressive scoring performance with 27 points, followed by 20 from Bicane and 15 from Prior. Jenkins dropped 27 in the away loss for the Archers, with Kate Butters and Sarah Wagstaff following with 14 points each.

Sheffield Hatters remain at the top of the league after beating Loughborough Riders 93-77. The home side took an early lead and despite the Riders tightening up their defence in the second quarter, the Hatters maintained a 12 point lead at half time. The third quarter did not go to plan for Loughborough head coach Matt Harbour and his team, admitting that 3 3 pointers from the Hatters killed the Riders rhythm.

The fourth quarter was very competitive finishing 26-24 in the Riders favour, however the Hatters consistent performance over four quarters gave them a cushion against the Riders, winning the game by 16.

Matt Harber commented on his team’s performance after the game:

“It’s disappointing to lose the first game of the league’s second round and I really thought we were going to put ourselves in a situation to win the game. However we were just not proactive in the second and third period and Sheffield dominated us during such a crucial part of the game. It’s only a matter of time before we find our stride and these games help to give us experience to build upon for future games”.

Helen Naylor led the Hatters scorers with 21 points, followed by Gandy (19) and Lee (15). The Riders forward Maaja Bratka led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Wescott (15) and Georgia Jones adding 12.

Manchester Mystics had an overtime win against recent National Cup Champions Team Northumbria. After a great start from the Cup winners, Mystics found some consistency offensively and brought the game back from a 14-1 deficit, leaving them 6 points behind going into half time. A three pointer from Shantrelle Moss gave Manchester their first lead of the game and shortly after Jade Lucas added another three, giving the home side the advantage as the fourth quarter drew to an end. 2 points from Northumbria’s Voyanova and a buzzer beater from Sarah Thompson forced over time. The first few minutes saw the team’s trade baskets and another period of overtime looked possible. However Manchester continued to score in the closing moments whilst Northumbria were unable to convert in the last two minutes of overtime. Manchester closed out the close contest winning 69-73. Top scorers for Manchester were Moss (18), Browne (16) and Lucas (14). Spotwood (23) and Thompson (14) top scored for Northumbria.

Sevenoaks continued their improved form this weekend with a 70-41 win over Barking Abbey. Sevenoaks came out strong, taking and maintaining the lead throughout the game as Barking struggled to convert offensively. Sevenoaks build their lead as the game went on as Barking continued to struggle. Head Coach Len Busch is happy with his team’s recent performance:

“The girls keep playing well. Keisha Wright had her best game as a Sun and Megan Lewis could have had double digit assists if a few more shots would have dropped. Our hope is to continue improving one week at a time. Northumbria will be a good test this coming weekend.”

Green led Sevenoaks to the win with 18 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Wright (16 points 8 rebounds). Mason top scored for Barking with 10 points.

This week Cardiff Archers face top of the table Sheffield Hatters at home, while Loughborough Riders take on Betty Cadona champions Nottingham Wildcats. Manchester Mystics will look to take an away win when they play Barking Abbey, and Sevenoaks host Team Northumbria.

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