Riders Win Trophy

Kate Oliver led Leicester Riders to victory in the WBBL Betty Codona Trophy Final.

WBBL Betty Codona Trophy Final

Sevenoaks Suns 53 – 68 Leicester Riders (21-23, 33-47, 45-55)

Leicester Riders have won the 2018 WBBL Betty Codona Trophy Final, beating Sevenoaks Suns 68-53 at the Cheshire Oaks Arena, with Kate Oliver leading the way in a decisive first half to take the MVP award.

The win avenges last season’s Trophy Final defeat to the Suns, and provides Riders a significant boost as these teams remain neck-and-neck in the WBBL Championship title race.

Leading scorers – Carr 26, Busch 8, Lewis 6 (Suns); Oliver 20, Winterburn 16, Hayward 12 (Riders)

Turning point – Suns had taken their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter, but that provoked a reaction from the Riders. Kate Oliver immediately hit a three-pointer, sparking a run in which she scored 10 in a row as her team went 12-1 to open a double-digit lead at 43-33. Suns came storming back – Cat Carr matching Oliver’s feats – but Dee Hayward hit consecutive three-pointers in the third quarter and Holly Winterburn did likewise in the fourth to settle the game.

Key stat – Riders gave themselves a cushion that they needed in the first half, behind dominant inside play. They shot an unbelievable 79% (15-19) from the inside in the first 20 minutes, led by Oliver’s 7-9.

Game hero – Kate Oliver was awarded the MVP after scoring 20 points on 63% interior shooting, all in the first half as Riders built their lead, as well as grabbing nine rebounds and dishing five assists.

Box score.