WBBL 2021-22 Power Rankings - The Run-In 3.0 - Hoopsfix.com

WBBL 2021-22 Power Rankings – The Run-In 3.0

We’re into the final few weeks of the 2021-22 regular season and there’s plenty to still be decided in the WBBL Championship.

London Lions remain unbeaten at the top, while there are just two wins separating five teams in the race for the playoffs as seven teams are still in contention for the remaining five spots.

These rankings are determined by several factors including both recent results and upcoming schedule and are just the opinion of the writer.

Latest standings: WBBL Championship – Lions 17-0; Suns 16-1; Hatters 16-4; Riders 11-7; Mystics 10-8; Rebels 9-9; Pride 9-11; Wildcats 8-10; Palatinates 8-11; Eagles 7-11; Wolves 4-17; Archers/Queens 3-16

➖ 1 [1]: London Lions [Q] (17-0, 24-0)

The Lions followed up their Trophy triumph with a repeat success against Sevenoaks in what was an unbeaten battle in the league at the Copper Box. Mark Clark’s side got off to a slow start, but Jo Leedham-Warner hit a trio of triples in the fourth to help secure a nine-point win in the absence of Azania Stewart.

The roles were reversed at the weekend against Cardiff as Stewart returned, while Leedham-Warner missed out as another slow start was followed by a dominant third quarter. Shanice Beckford-Norton top scored with 22 points including 14 in the third as the Lions took another step towards the league title with a 40-point win – and they welcome Manchester next.

Playoffs outlook – Qualified. The Lions have now also secured a home quarter-final with a guaranteed top-four finish.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅✅✅✅✅
Next up – (H) v Manchester Mystics – CH – 10th April

2 [2]: Sevenoaks Suns [Q] (16-1, 19-3)

Sevenoaks responded well to their 36-point defeat in the Trophy final and were right in the contest up until midway through the fourth against London as they dropped their first league game of the season. Frankie Wurtz finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists in the defeat with Janice Monakana adding 15 points off the bench.

Len Busch’s side quickly returned to winning ways by beating Cardiff on the road and followed that up with a hard-fought home win against Caledonia behind 27 points from Cat Carr. The Suns face a double-header in the North-East this weekend as they look to keep up the pressure on London ahead of their repeat matchup on the final weekend.

Playoffs outlook – Qualified.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅✅❎❎✅
Next up – (A) v Newcastle Eagles – CH – 9th April

➖ 3 [3]: Sheffield Hatters [Q] (16-4, 18-6)

It was a tale of two contrasting fourth quarters for Sheffield in their most recent encounters as they defeated Leicester at home before slipping up to a loss on the road against Durham. The Hatters outscored the Riders 28-8 in the fourth on their way to a 16-point win, but were outscored 24-12 against the Palatinates having surrendered a 21-point lead.

Georgia Gayle top scored with 21 points and nine rebounds against Leicester, but was limited to just two and a half minutes against Durham as the Hatters led 16-37 inside the first half. Ebony Horton posted a double-double, while Abbey Whitehouse just missed out with 12 points and nine rebounds. They stay on the road this weekend with a visit to in-form Caledonia.

Playoffs outlook – Qualified.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎✅✅✅✅
Next up – (A) v Caledonia Pride – CH – 10th April

⬆️[5]: Caledonia Pride (9-11, 9-14)

Five straight wins turned into seven straight wins as Caledonia continued their club record win streak before falling to defeat against Sevenoaks at the weekend. Taylor Edwards recorded a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in their 14-point road win in Newcastle before Erin McGarrachan posted 22 points as they defeated Essex by 12 at home.

Pride were locked in a close battle with the Suns in the first half before eventually falling to an 11-point defeat, though their winning run has put them amongst the top eight with the chance of adding to their solitary playoffs appearance. Caledonia host Sheffield on Sunday with a trip to London still on their schedule, also.

Playoffs outlook – Pride only have four remaining games as they look to return to the post-season for the first time since 2018. They are a win ahead of ninth-placed Durham, but have played an extra game with two of the top three still to play.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎✅✅✅✅
Next up – (H) v Sheffield Hatters – CH – 10th April

⬇️ 5 [4]: Leicester Riders (11-7, 15-9)

A dip in form for the Riders with three consecutive defeats as they look to hold on to their top four spot. Leicester fell to a 16-point defeat on the road against Sheffield before losing by four at home to Essex as they missed out on the chance to firmly secure their place in the top four.

Oceana Hamilton recorded another double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss with Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus adding 16 points. Leicester stay on the road for three of their next four games, starting at Nottingham, while they still have Sevenoaks to play twice as they look to hold on to fourth spot.

Playoffs outlook – The Riders are almost in with at least one win from their remaining six games likely being enough to secure a spot in the top eight, though they have competition for fourth as things stand.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎❎❎✅✅
Next up – (A) v Nottingham Wildcats – CH – 9th April

 6 [6]: Essex Rebels (9-9, 10-12)

Win-loss-win-loss-win in their last five now for the Rebels, which perfectly reflects their record as they sit at .500 in the league. In their last three games – all on the road – they edged out Manchester and Leicester by a combined winning margin of seven, whilst losing to Caledonia with the two teams level on nine wins each.

Five players scored 11+ points in the win over the Mystics, while Ashleigh Munns and Claire Paxton netted 20 points apiece to help the Rebels secure a four-point victory in Leicester with Tia Freeman recording a first career double-double in the WBBL. They will look to make it back-to-back wins when they take on Gloucester on Saturday.

Playoffs outlook – Essex still have six games to play including encounters with Caledonia, Nottingham and Newcastle which could prove decisive.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅❎✅❎✅
Next up – (H) v Gloucester City Queens – CH – 9th April

⬆️ 7 [8]: Manchester Met Mystics (10-8, 12-10)

Manchester appeared to be getting firmly dragged into the race for the playoffs after a home defeat to Essex, but they have responded with victories over Newcastle and Oaklands to keep hold of fifth place – just a game behind the Riders.

Georgia Jones dished out 17 assists in the win on the road against the Eagles before contributing 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a full 40-minute effort against Oaklands as Manchester recovered from a slow start. Erika Williams only played 1:50 as a starter so it will be worth keeping an eye on the American’s availability against Durham on Saturday.

Playoffs outlook – The Mystics reached double figures in the win column and should be safe barring a late collapse with six games to go, though they do have double-headers against London and Durham to come.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅✅❎❎✅
Next up – (H) v Durham Palatinates – CH – 9th April

⬆️[9]: Durham Palatinates (8-11, 10-13)

Durham are now just half a game outside of the top eight having turned their season around since the start of 2022; winning seven of their last 10 league games. The Palatinates completed a double over Oaklands and a stunning comeback victory over Sheffield to make it five in a row until their run came to an end on the road against Newcastle.

Katie Bennett, in particular, has been in top form for Durham and finished with 16 points, five rebounds and seven assists to lead the 21-point comeback against the Hatters for a thrilling win. Their loss to the Eagles keeps their rivals alive and they stay on the road this weekend with a trip to Manchester as the race continues.

Playoffs outlook – Durham’s winning run hauled them into contention, but they are on the outside looking in with six games still to play. As well as two encounters with Manchester, they also take on Nottingham and beating the teams around you is worth double at this stage.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎✅✅✅✅
Next up – (A) v Manchester Met Mystics – CH – 9th April

⬇️[7]: Nottingham Wildcats (8-10, 10-13)

Nottingham know they are in a real battle to make the post-season with little room for error down the stretch. They bounced back from a 30-point home defeat to London with a hard-fought victory away at Oaklands as the seven-point success, coupled with results elsewhere keeps them inside the coveted top eight.

Praise Egharevba had a huge game off the back of the WEABL final with 21 points and 20 rebounds in the absence of Kennedy Nicholas to help the Wildcats pull out the win as they took the fourth 10-20. Brooklyn Pannell and Imani Whittington also recorded double-doubles in the victory and Nottingham host Leicester on Saturday for their next game.

Playoffs outlook – The Wildcats have never missed out on the post-season, but it’s a distinct possibility heading into their final six games. Essex and Durham await, while they also host two of the top four in an intriguing stretch.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅❎❎✅❎
Next up – (H) v Leicester Riders – CH- 9th April

 10 [10]: Newcastle Eagles (7-11, 10-13)

What a difference a weekend makes. The Eagles were beaten by Caledonia in front of a WBBL Championship record crowd before losing to Manchester in a further dent to their playoffs hopes, but a double-winning weekend followed as they defeated both Gloucester and Durham to keep their hopes alive.

Noelia Cacheiro’s side beat the Queens by 23 before a Chloe Gaylor inspired performance of 22 points and 15 rebounds set up an important 13-point win over the Palatinates. The club also announced the departures of Jessica Eadsforth-Yates and Ori Chukwu-Etu before last weekend and their focus now turns to a home encounter with Sevenoaks on Saturday.

Playoffs outlook – Life again for the Eagles after beating Durham, but they will need to be near-flawless down the stretch with a big clash with Essex followed by road trips against two of the bottom three.

Last five games (most recent first): ✅✅❎❎❎
Next up – (H) v Sevenoaks Suns – CH – 9th April

⬆️ 11 [12]: Oaklands Wolves (4-17, 4-21)

It’s been a busy period for the Wolves with five games in a short space of time as their playoffs ambitions finally came to an end this weekend. Lauren Milligan’s side lost twice against Durham before a return to winning ways by beating Gloucester was followed with hard-fought defeats against Nottingham and Manchester.

The Wolves battled without their full quota of senior players at their disposal for the stretch of games and saw their academy talent step up with Miriam Menendez in particular shining with a 26-point performance in the win over the Queens. More opportunities will follow as they look to finish the season on a high with a trip to Cardiff this weekend.

Playoffs outlook – Eliminated from contention.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎❎✅❎❎
Next up – (A) v Cardiff Met Archers – CH – 9th April

⬇️ 12 [11]: Cardiff Met Archers (3-16, 6-18)

The Archers finally ended their losing streak in the league, dating back to October, as they eased to victory at home to Gloucester in an impressive display. Shannon Hatch and Issy Bunyan scored 20 points apiece in the 33-point win with Lauren Saiki close to a triple-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

Stef Collins’ side then gave London an early test on the road before falling to a 40-point loss as their feint playoffs hopes were officially ended with five games still to play. The Archers will look to add to their winning tally and finish the season strong as they take on Oaklands on Saturday in their next game.

Playoffs outlook – Eliminated from contention.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎✅❎❎❎
Next up – (H) v Oaklands Wolves – CH – 9th April

 13 [13]: Gloucester City Queens (3-16, 4-19)

Gloucester’s wait for a win continues having now lost 10 straight games in the league since their last victory in January. Defeats to Oaklands, Cardiff and Newcastle consigned the newcomers to an early exit from playoffs contention and will now hope to avoid finish bottom in their debut season.

Marlee Ball passed 250 points including a 22-point, 15-rebound double-double in recent action with the three defeats all by margins of 20+. They visit Essex next on Saturday before hosting the league-leading Lions on Thursday as part of their run-in with five games still to play to conclude their campaign.

Playoffs outlook – Eliminated from contention.

Last five games (most recent first): ❎❎❎❎❎
Next up – (A) v Essex Rebels – CH – 9th April

All fixtures subject to change and according to official website.

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