London Lions bounce back to beat unbeaten group leaders -

London Lions bounce back to beat unbeaten group leaders

London Lions claimed an impressive 69-63 victory over previously unbeaten Castors Braine to boost their EuroCup Women qualification hopes.

Mark Clark’s side produced a strong defensive display to move to 2-1 and join their opponents at the top of the Group K standings.

Holly Winterburn top scored with 15 points along with eight assists, while Shanice Beckford-Norton added 14 points and Kennedy Leonard had 13 points. Azania Stewart starred on the defensive end and finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.

Box score.

There was little between the sides in the early stages as the Lions made a better start this week; trading baskets throughout the opening 10 minutes. The visitors won a late three-point battle to end the first to edge ahead at 19-21.

Winterburn hit London’s second three early in the second as part of a 13-point first half; once again finding success driving to the basket. The Belgian side continued to make shots from outside and surged into the largest lead of the game at 26-33.

The Lions needed a response and stepped up on the defensive end, which allowed them to chip away at the deficit and they would take the lead going into half-time as successive threes from Leonard capped a 12-0 close.

Castors Braine scored two baskets in quick succession to end their drought at the start of the third to spark an overall 11-2 run to re-take the lead and soon re-establish their seven-point cushion. London levelled on a three from Cassie Breen in a 7-0 burst and needed another late Leonard triple to tie the game at 54-54 heading into the fourth.

Another long-range effort from Breen opened the crucial final period and the Lions stayed ahead through their defensive effort and seven unanswered points from Beckford-Norton as part of a critical 9-0 run that spanned over four minutes.

The Lions finished with 27 turnovers in the contest – 10 accounted to Leonard – but their defence held strong opposition to less than 65 points for a crucial win. Onto the reverse fixture with Rutronik Stars Keltern next week at the Copper Box.

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