London Lions v Newcastle Eagles - 2021 WBBL playoffs final preview -

London Lions v Newcastle Eagles – 2021 WBBL playoffs final preview

The last game of an eventful 2020-21 WBBL season with the playoffs Championship to be decided in Leicester.

Here’s a closer look at today’s matchup as London Lions and Newcastle Eagles clash for the title.

London Lions [3] 🆚 Newcastle Eagles [7]

Sunday 16th May, 3pm, Morningside Arena, Leicester


The Lions did their job once more with a controlled performance in beating Nottingham Wildcats for a fourth time this season. It was closer than their Trophy final encounter, but London came through to win 77-68 with an all-round team display. Shanice Beckford-Norton had 18 points, Cassie Breen with 16 despite an early injury scare and Kennedy Leonard finished with a 14-9-9 stat-line.

Newcastle pulled off an even biggest upset in WBBL playoffs history. Less than a week after they stunned Leicester Riders, they provided a huge shock by knocking out the league champions. Chris Bunten’s side overturned a 12-point deficit in the second half with an unrelenting effort for a historic 79-72 triumph. Alison Gorrell recorded the first playoffs triple-double with 22-12-10 with Abby Lowe, Maddy McVicar and Rachael Bland combining for 53 points – containing 11 threes.

Previous meetings:

They first met this season all the way back on the opening weekend of the league campaign in mid-December. London jumped out to a strong start on their way to an 85-72 victory behind a 26-point haul from Breen, while Gorrell had 22 points in defeat.

The league’s leading scorer fired in 28 points in the reverse fixture in the North-East, but the hosts ran out of steam in the fourth to fall to a 61-72 loss. Breen top scored with 20 points, while Stephanie Umeh had 18 points with Beckford-Norton and Chantel Charles both collecting 10+ rebounds.


  • This is London Lions’ first WBBL playoffs final, while Newcastle Eagles won their previous final appearance in 2016 as Team Northumbria;
  • Rachael Bland was part of Northumbria’s title-winning roster when they beat Nottingham at The O2;
  • Newcastle are the lowest seeds to ever compete in the WBBL playoffs final;
  • Kennedy Leonard committed nine turnovers last time out against Newcastle – but has only had more than four in a game on one other occasion;
  • The WBBL playoffs final record for assists is eight – Leonard had at least eight assists in 16 of 20 league appearances this season;
  • Chantel Charles (Lions) and Maddy McVicar (Eagles) both played at the University of Maine during their collegiate career and play on opposite sides of the floor in the final.


Not done yet | Kennedy Leonard

Don’t sleep on us | Abby Lowe

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