Riders close the gap at the top as Mystics edge thriller

WBBL Championship
Cardiff Met Archers 60-85 Leicester Riders (13-29, 27-46, 50-64)
(Archers – Hatch 17, Jorgensen 9, Shanahan 8; Riders – Brewer 18, Smith 17, Stewart 14)

WBBL Championship
Caledonia Pride 64-66 Manchester Met Mystics (19-21, 36-39, 50-53)
(Pride – Doherty 14, Phillipa 12, Ranger 10; Mystics – Shaw 18, Jones 16, Bailey 13)

Leicester Riders closed the gap to league leaders London Lions on Saturday as Manchester Met Mystics edged a tense affair against Caledonia Pride.

The Riders ran out comfortable winners against Cardiff Met Archers as they picked up their fifth win on the bounce, whilst a clutch steal and finish from Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee secured a big win for the Mystics in the Scottish capital.

Leicester travelled to Cardiff knowing a win would secure their place in the playoffs, and they looked to do in style as the Riders flew out the gates with 29 points in the first quarter.

The Archers were looking for revenge over Leicester after their eight-point loss to the Riders just under a month ago, and made it a tighter affair in the middle two quarters as they looked to eat into a sizeable Leicester lead.

A convincing final quarter from the Riders saw them hold the Archers to only 10 points in the final period. Maya Brewer led all scorers with 18 points and Azania Stewart posted a double-double of 14 points to go with 10 rebounds as Leicester finished the game with five players in double figures for points scoring.

The result sees Leicester cut the Lions lead at the top of the table to only two points.

The day’s second and final game tipped off in Edinburgh with the Mystics looking to strengthen their playoff push against a Pride side who had lost their last five in a row.

There was little to separate the two sides throughout the ball game, with a nine-point Mystics lead early in the third the largest of the game, until the Pride fought back and made it a tie game with just under two minutes to go.

Up stepped Fong Lyew Quee who stripped the ball from Ella Doherty and drove to the basket for the game-winning score. Caledonia had the chance to tie the scores with the final possession of the game, however a crucial offensive rebound from Sophia Song secured a huge win for the Mystics.

Hannah Shaw led all scorers with 18 points to go with seven rebounds for the Mystics as they kept up their charge for the playoffs.