Riders and Suns keep up Championship chase

WBBL Championship
Caledonia Pride 73-68 Cardiff Met Archers (19-17, 40-40, 55-54)
(Pride – Ranger 24, Phillips 18, Doherty 15; Archers – Shanahan 22, Hatch 17, Lewis 11)

WBBL Championship
Leicester Riders 71-42 Essex Rebels (23-11, 40-21, 55-29)
(Riders – Smith 20, Lappenkuper 13, Winterburn 12; Rebels – Costa 10, Waithe 7, Munns 6)

WBBL Championship
Sevenoaks Suns 76-62 Nottingham Wildcats (23-18, 42-31, 52-42)
(Suns – Carr 27, Monakana 14, Garrido-Perez 9; Wildcats – Shumpert 25, Costa 19, Egharevba 6)

WBBL Championship
London Lions 87-76 Manchester Met Mystics (20-17, 40-41, 67-50)
(Lions – Breen 23, Charles 20, Leonard 14; Mystics – Fong Lyew Quee 19, Jones 18, Song 11)

Leicester Riders and Sevenoaks Suns are set for a Championship showdown on Wednesday as both picked up big wins in their race for the WBBL Championship on Saturday.

The Riders and Suns fought off Playoff hopefuls Essex Rebels and Nottingham Wildcats respectably, in a packed day of action that also saw wins for London Lions and Caledonia Pride.

The day’s action tipped off in Leicester with the Riders knowing a win would be crucial ahead of their double header with the Suns, and they started strongly against a Rebels side looking for their first win in six games.

Leicester made the most of the Rebels shooting only 20% for the floor during the ball game, and had built a 21-point lead by halftime before further strengthening that lead in the closing quarters. Amber Smith led all scorers with 20 points as she posted a double-double with 10 rebounds, whilst Azania Stewart posted a double-double of her own as she racked up 10 points with an impressive 15 rebounds.

With Leicester going top of the WBBL for at least the next two hours, the Suns knew they would have to overcome a stern Wildcats test to maintain their perfect record for the season.

Catherine Carr has led the Suns from the front all season, and carried on that fine form with another impressive all-round performance as she nearly posted her second triple-double in as many weeks with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists as the Suns put in another convincing performance.

Chelsea Shumpert enjoyed another fine individual performance for the Wildcats as she posted 25 points, however another assured Suns win saw them improve to 16-0 for the season.

London Lions still find themselves in the race for the title, however suffered a huge blow in their loss to the Leicester Riders last week, and a big second half performance against Manchester Met Mystics kept their hopes alive going into the final weeks of the Championship.

A tight start saw the Mystics take a one-point lead going into halftime, however the Lions exploded into life in the third period, outscoring the Mystics 27 points to nine as they bounced back from last week’s disappointment.

Cassie Breen posted a game high 23 points for the Lions whilst Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 assists for the Mystics.

The day’s remaining game saw Caledonia Pride pick up their third win of the season in a hard-fought win over Cardiff Met Archers.

There was little to separate the two sides going into the final quarter with only a point separating them with eight seconds to go, however four clutch free throws from Maud Ranger secured a well-earned victory for the Pride.

Ranger posted a monster double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds, whilst Sian Phillips booked her place in the Pride history books as she became the side’s all-time rebound leader.