Exciting first day of the season in the books

The opening game day of the 2019-20 season is in the books after an entertaining start to the Betty Codona WBBL Trophy, which saw four contests take place in one venue at the University of Essex.

Nottingham Wildcats had the honour of collecting the first victory of the new campaign as they eased past BA London Lions 70-53. There was a sense of deja vu for fans as last year’s standout duo Jasmine Joyner and Chelsey Shumpert picked up where they left off. The former hit top gear with a spectacular 22 points, 12 boards and four blocks, while Shumpert weighed in with 23 points and 6 assists. Lions’ debutante Melita Emmanuel-Carr racked up an eye-catching 18 points.

There was no joy for the host club Essex Rebels who were outlasted 78-66 by last season’s Trophy Finalists Durham Palatinates. It was the new Palatinates recruits who did the business as Dee Hayward harvested 21 points, while Kara Elderkin showed why her summer move from north-east rivals Newcastle was so important after delivering a monumental 17 points and 21 rebounds. Meanwhile Abby Rendle replied with 22 points for Rebels on her WBBL debut.

Trophy holders Leicester Riders showed they will not be giving up their prized silverware in a hurry after they underlined their depth with a crushing 90-58 victory against Oaklands Wolves. Ella Clark was terrific with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds, while four of her teammates also returned double-digits – led by 19 from Sara Hinriksdottir. From a losing perspective, Anneke Schlueter top-scored for Wolves with 19 points.

In the last game of the day, Sevenoaks Suns reiterated why they are a powerhouse franchise as they swept aside Caledonia Pride 81-60. The familiar duo of Cat Carr and Ta’Yani Clark went to work, with Carr adding 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Clark had an all-action 11 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.

Betty Codona WBBL Trophy (all games)

BA London Lions 50-73 Nottingham Wildcats (10-21, 30-38, 40-58)
(Lions – Emmanuel-Carr 18, Velasquez 13, Ivanova 9; Wildcats – Shumpert 23, Joyner 22, Costa 8)

Oaklands Wolves 58-90 Leicester Riders (17-23, 39-46, 49-67)
(Wolves – Schlueter 19, Harrison 16, Boros 6; Hinriksdottir 19, Oliver 18, Clark 15)

Essex Rebels 66-78 Durham Palatinates (15-16, 35-35, 54-56)
(Rebels – Rendle 22, Ward 19, Shaxon 10; Palatinates – Hayward 21, MacDonald 19, Elderkin 17)

Sevenoaks Suns 81-60 Caledonia Pride (24-8, 40-25, 64-33)
(Suns – Carr 17, Monakana 12, Clark 11, Ofomata 11; Pride Fouraki 18, Storie 10, Doherty 8)

Further Trophy games will take place across Saturday and Sunday, with four taking place on each day.