WBBL Play-Off Quarter-Final
Leicester Riders 73-79 Newcastle Eagles (19-17, 34-37, 54-57)
(Riders – Robb 18, Brewer 13, Stewart 13; Eagles – Lowe 26, Gorrell 24, McVicar 13)
WBBL Play-Off Quarter-Final
Sevenoaks Suns 76-59 Oaklands Wolves (20-16, 36-25, 61-44)
(Suns – Garrido-Perez 20, Carr 18, Busch 12; Wolves – Carter 16, Quick 14, Uprus 11)
May Madness opened at the Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle live on Sky Sports YouTube on Saturday night, with the first two teams through to the WBBL Play-off semi-finals after Newcastle Eagles caused the biggest upset in history and the league champion Sevenoaks Suns made it safely through.
Never in a WBBL post-season had a seventh seed beaten a second seed, and Eagles came in with consecutive losses but managed to overcome Leicester Riders 79-73 as Abby Lowe (26) and Alison Gorrell (24) combined for three-quarters of their points.
Eagles were in an early hole in a first half that saw big swings, with Riders initially leading by seven before Eagles went up eight as Lowe scored seven points in an 11-2 burst in the second quarter. The teams were tied on three occasions and trading baskets in the third and it was a one-shot game heading into the final ten minutes.
Decisively, Newcastle opened the fourth with back-to-back threes from Lowe and Rachael Bland to lead 63-54 and from there they managed to hold Riders off, despite them getting back to within one shot numerous times. Initially, Maddy McVicar hit a big triple to extend the advantage, but they needed one more big score as Riders were within two inside the final minute, and it came out of a timeout on a play drawn up for Lowe.
Gorrell added eight rebounds and seven assists in a near triple-double, while McVicar had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Earlier in the night, Sevenoaks powered past Oaklands Wolves with a 76-59 victory, remaining unbeaten in the post-season for five years, 10 straight games, having lifted the Play-off trophy in each of the last three completed seasons dating back to 2016-17.
After a tight opening, the Suns blew the game open with a 14-0 surge early in the second stanza, as Irrene Garrido-Perez scored seven of her game-high 20 points in that run and they held Wolves scoreless for nearly seven minutes.
Suns scored 10 second chance points off seven offensive rebounds in the first 15 minutes, and the lead reached 34-20 as Ta’Yani Clark grabbed an offensive board and scored off a Cat Carr assist.
That margin was rarely threatened, only briefly in single-figures early in the third quarter, before it went through 20 points when Garrido-Perez and Renee Busch hit consecutive three-pointers early in the fourth.
As well as Garrido-Perez scoring 20 on 7-9 (77%) shooting, captain Cat Carr was close to a triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Those results set up a semi-final between the night’s two victors on Friday, also live on Sky Sports.