Newcastle pull off upsets to set London showdown in 2024 WBBL playoffs final -

Newcastle pull off upsets to set London showdown in 2024 WBBL playoffs final

Newcastle Eagles have pulled off another surprise run to the WBBL playoffs final as they set up a showdown with three-time defending champions London Lions.

The six seeds defeated league runners-up Caledonia Gladiators 58-60 in overtime on the road, on Sunday, to back up victory over third-placed Sheffield Hatters to reach the post-season finale for a third time – winning the title in 2016.

Jada Dapaa led the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds having returned from injury for the playoffs, while Tierra Hodges had another huge outing with 18 points and 14 boards. Chloe Gaynor iced the win with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds after Erin McGarrachan had forced the extra period at the buzzer in regulation.

Matt Newby’s side had last week earned a 69-71 success against Sheffield with Newcastle becoming the second team outside of the top four to reach the playoffs final – also doing so themselves in 2021 when they beat Leicester [3] and Sevenoaks [1] during May Madness.

Meanwhile, London stretched their domestic unbeaten run to 42 games with an 11th straight playoffs victory – beating Sevenoaks Suns’ record of 10 consecutive post-season wins – as they defeated Leicester Riders 95-70, in a repeat of last year’s final.

The Lions – without WNBA quartet Temi Fagbenle, Megan Gustafson, Karlie Samuelson and Shey Peddy – were led by Abby Meyers’ 22 points, while Ivana Katanic dished out nine assists to go with 12 points in the win.

London had trailed 10-17 early on, but recovered to establish a double-digit lead by half-time before pulling further clear. The Riders were also missing key players with starters Rayven Peeples and Sam Ashby both absent, and they were once again led by Taylor O’Brien’s 19 points and eight rebounds.

The American had posted an impressive double-double of 21 points and 17 rebounds in the quarter-finals as Leicester overturned a 21-point deficit to see off Essex Rebels in an 81-80 triumph.

Next week’s final between London and Newcastle takes place at The O2 and will also be shown live on Sky Sports.

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