- National Teams
London Lions and Leicester Riders go head-to-head in a final for the third time this season as they battle for the WBBL Playoffs title at The O2, on Sunday.
The Lions are vying for a second successive clean sweep having already claimed the Cup, Trophy and Championship titles, while the Riders will be out to spoil the party in the capital.
Two contrasting runs to the finals with London brushing aside Newcastle Eagles in an opening 86-37 victory before defeating former winners Sevenoaks Suns 74-49 in a repeat of last year’s title clash with Ty Battle contributing 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win at Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Leicester had to dig deep to see off Essex Rebels as they came from 11 points down to force overtime, where they would eventually seal an 83-80 triumph to advance. They headed to Scotland in the semi-finals and had 25 points from Oliana Squires to help secure a big 50-69 success away at Caledonia Gladiators to make it back to another final.
The Lions will be without Kiki Herbert-Harrigan on Sunday with the WBBL Player of the Year having departed for WNBA training camp prior to the end of the regular season. London made it through the post-season comfortably enough and still have lots of talent on the roster.
Holly Winterburn was MVP in January’s Cup final victory and made it onto the All-First Team in the end-of-season voting. Kat Snystina has been consistently solid throughout the campaign and Ty Battle is a handful of inside with the Lions also banking on plenty of experience from their British core including Azania Stewart, who will take to the floor for the final time.
The third seeded Riders head into their third final of the season. After losing by 53 in the Cup final in January, the Trophy final was a much closer battle before eventually going down by 12. An improved display from Krumesh Patel’s side and plenty of encouragement that they can compete with London – it’s just about putting that together for a full 40 minutes.
Ashley Arlen was kept quiet in the Cup final, but has a huge influence on this Riders team that is full of newcomers to the league. McKenzie Johnston and Oliana Squires have a big job in the backcourt and Kirsty Brown’s defence inside will also be needed as Leicester look to utilise their own weapons on the big stage to conjure a magical end to the season.
The game is available to watch LIVE on Sky Sports, and their YouTube channel.