28 Jan 2017 (TRO): Hatters 69-50 Pride

Steph Gandy and Brittany Winborne lead Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters to 2-0 in the WBBL Trophy.

WBBL Trophy, North Group
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 69 (18,32,51) (Gandy 20, Winborne 18, Campbell 11)
Caledonia Pride 50 (13,19,39) (Peacock 17, Oakes 12, Mackie 8)

Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters maintained their pursuit of a third straight WBBL Trophy crown as they beat Caledonia Pride 69-50 to go 2-0 in the North Group, level at the top with Manchester Mystics, whom they meet next in a week’s time.

Hatters were led by 20 points from the WBBL’s second-leading scorer, Steph Gandy, while Brittany Winborne added 18.

And, despite being at opposite ends of the WBBL Championship table, with Pride winless since October, it was a competitive start to this encounter, with Pride as close as 11-10 when Beth Mackie hit a first quarter three-pointer.

But Gandy stopped that run in a quick spell of six straight points towards the end of the first and they were soon up by double-digits, 27-17, when Naomi Campbell scored two of her 11 points early in the second stanza.

Hatters defence came to the fore in that period, holding their visitors to just six points in ten minutes, and they led 32-19 at the half.

Hatters would hold such a margin for the majority of the rest of the game, although Pride did get close when Tricia Oakes and then Sarah Thomson, with a three-pointer, narrowed the deficit to 48-39.

But a dagger three-pointer ended the third quarter for Sheffield, and they were back up 60-45 early in the fourth quarter, with there being no way back for the visitors as Hatters are unbeaten on their home floor in nearly three months.

It was an impressive display from the visitors, despite dropping to 0-2 in the Trophy, as they kept the league’s leading scorers to 14 points below their average. But that will be little consolation in a formidable group that also includes the league-leading Nottingham Wildcats and recent WBBL Cup winners, Manchester Mystics.