- National Teams
London Lions defeated Essex Rebels 83-67 to claim their fourth consecutive WBBL Betty Codona Trophy title.
It marks an 11th piece of silverware since 2021 for the Lions as they proved too strong for first-time finalists Essex Rebels.
— London Lions (@londonlionsw) January 28, 2024
Megan Gustafson took MVP honours with 15 points and eight rebounds in an all-round team effort with nine different scorers.
Temi Fagbenle added 13 points; Savannah Wilkinson and Ivana Katanic added 12 points apiece with Holly Winterburn dishing out 12 assists.
Dayzsha Rogan got the Rebels going from mid-range as they held their own in the early stages. Ivana Katanic then scored five straight in a 9-0 run before Renee Busch stopped the rot with a trademark
The Lions carried on in the same vain out of the timeout with Gustafson hitting a three in the middle of an 11-0 spell, but Megan Haines would finish the quarter with four points to help Essex reduce their arrears to 26-13.
London had assisted 10 of their 11 field goals with their ball movement and smothering defence setting the tone in the contest.
Savannah Wilkinson had the hot hand off the bench and quickly moved into double figures with the Lions in complete control at 39-20. The Rebels were in need of a response and had a huge four-point play from Kat Tudor to cap a crucial 9-0 spell spanning over two minutes.
Gustafson continued to prove too strong inside; moving to 13 points, but it was Rogan who ensured Essex had the final say with their fifth three-pointer – in contrast to London being 1-of-11 from downtown – to see them trailing 48-35 at the half-time break.
After an even start to the third, London began to pull further away with Karlie Samuelson’s three sparking another bright spell. The lead reached the 20-point mark again as London took a commanding 66-46 cushion into the final quarter.
It would prove insurmountable, but there was no giving up without a fight from the Rebels in the fourth – eventually going down to a 16-point defeat. Another encouraging sign of the club’s continued progress and something to take into the remainder of the season as they currently sit outside of the top four in the regular season.
As for London, another win and another title as their domestic domination rolls on with European success the next marker on their horizon.
– London Lions won the Betty Codona Trophy in 2021, 2022 & 2023
– Essex Rebels were competing in their first WBBL final
– Lions starters: Katanic, Winterburn, Samuelson, Fagbenle, Gustafson
– Rebels starters: Haines, Rogan, Tudor, Paxton, Rees
– Holly Winterburn has now won five Trophy titles (two with Riders, two with Lions)
– Renee Busch (2017) and Claire Paxton (2019) only Rebels to win the Trophy
– Winterburn set the single-game Trophy final assists record with 12