Caledonia Pride 86-81 Newcastle Eagles (22-26, 46-44, 66-56)
(Pride – Phillips 28, Storie 20, Ranger 14; Eagles – Gorrell 38, Smith 17, McVicar 14)
Durham Palatinates 53-78 Nottingham Wildcats (11-17, 22-35, 45-53)
(Palatinates – Van Straaten 14, Elderkin 10, Hurtado-Barbeito 10; Wildcats – Shumpert 26, Joyner 25, Freeman 8)
Essex Rebels 90-102 Manchester Met Mystics (22-27, 51-50, 66-72)
(Rebels – Waithe 32, Kohlhaas 24, Munns 17; Mystics – Jones 35, Song 17, Fong Lyew Quee 14)
There were three games in the WBBL Championship on Saturday afternoon, with some amazing individual displays that have helped to increase the congestion in the middle of the table and among teams currently in the Play-off places.
The first of those was from Nottingham Wildcats’ star guard, Chelsey Shumpert, who came close to what would have been a first ever quadruple-double in the WBBL as she posted 26 points, nine rebounds, nine steals and eight assists.
Wildcats won 78-53 on the road at Durham Palatinates, to make it three straight league wins for a 5-3 record, after they opened the second stanza with an 11-0 burst when Tia Freeman sparked it with a three-pointer before Shumpert hit the next seven for a 28-11 lead.
Palatinates got close in the second half, but a 13-0 surge early in the fourth quarter – that included six for Jasmine Joyner and another Freeman triple – settled the game, as the visitors went on to win that period 25-8.
Wildcats, in second, stay above Essex Rebels in the table as they slipped to Manchester Met Mystics 90-102; Mystics becoming the first team to go through a century in WBBL Championship play this season with Georgia Jones nearing a triple-double with 35 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
Mystics trailed the in-form Rebels by just one point in a high-scoring first half, but made the key run immediately out of the halftime break as they scored 10 of the first 12 points of the third, five for Sophia Song, to make the score 60-53.
Although it remained tight, the lead reached double-figures at 87-77 in the fourth as Song hit a triple and Vanessa Akra came from the bench to score eight points in the first four minutes of the period, meaning back-to-back wins for Manchester for the first time this season.
Finally, Caledonia Pride moved to 2-3 and put daylight between themselves and the teams currently outside of the Play-off places, including the Newcastle Eagles side that they beat 86-81 to snap a run of three straight defeats in all competitions.
Pride were let by yet another of the performances of the season so far, as Sian Phillips posted a huge double-double of 28 points and 23 rebounds, adding six steals, four assists and two blocks.
The first key run came midway through the third when Phillips scored nine points in a 13-2 run that made the score 61-52 as the hosts didn’t allow their visitors a score from open play for over five minutes.
Eagles came all the way back to tie the game on an Alison Gorrell score, as she finished with 38, but Pollyanna Storie replied and Phillips scored consecutively inside the final four minutes to make the score 78-72 with three minutes to play, and that proved to be enough.