This weekend saw the Sheffield Hatters remain on top with a ten point win over Cardiff Archers and Loughborough Riders put on an impressive defensive performance keeping Betty Cadona Classic Champions Nottingham Wildcats to 48 points in their home win.
In the bottom half of the league, Northumbria faced another game with over time, however this time coming out with a 2 point win away at Sevenoaks Suns. Barking Abbey beat Manchester Mystics 77-69 after Manchester took an early 11 point lead.
28 first quarter points for the Sheffield Hatters left Cardiff playing catch up for the rest of the game. A much closer second quarter stopped the Hatters from building on their lead, which left the Archers with an 11 point deficit at half time. A very competitive third quarter brought the game back into contention for the Archers as they chipped away at the Hatters lead, leaving just 8 points separating the two teams going into the fourth. A narrow 20-22 fourth quarter wasn’t enough for the Archers and Sheffield won 82-72.
Sheffield was led by 25 points from Stef Ghandy with 25, followed by 19 from Helen Naylor and Lauren Thomas-Johnson with 15. Archer’s top scorers were Collins (20) with Butters and Wagstaff adding 12.
A tough contest was expected between Loughborough Riders and Nottingham Wildcats, with previous games being won in the final moments. The first half fulfilled this expectation, with both teams trading baskets throughout the first and second quarter, the home side led by just one point at half time.
The Riders defensive effort was rewarded in the second half, keeping the Wildcats to 19 points whilst scoring 32 to secure them the game. Rider’s top scorers were Jones with 17, Baird (12) and Westcott (9) whilst Bicane scored 16 for Nottingham.
Manchester looked to record a second consecutive win when they travelled to Barking Abbey. The Mystics had a sharp start to the first quarter and got the better of the home side scoring quick layups early in the offense as well as three pointers from new American singing Shontelle Moss.
After a Barking time out the home side tightened up their defence and jump shots from point guard Leah McDerment and some pretty inside moves from American centre Jessica Walton and Roz Mason cut the deficit to seven as the first quarter came to a close. Manchester continued to take advantage of Abbey’s miscommunication on defence and was able to maintain a five point lead at half time.
A stronger defensive quarter from the home side paved the way for the Barking win, getting defensive stops and continued good shooting from Leah McDerment tied the game at 43 early in the third quarter. With a cushion of only seven points the intensity of the game reached its peak in the final five minutes, as Manchester continued to be a threat from both the three point and free throw line.
The experience of Barking Abbey’s senior point guard Dianna Goranova was invaluable in the closing stages, scoring a big three pointer and a buzzer beater layup to see out a 7 point win. Goranova top scored for Barking with 18 points, followed by McDerment (14) and Mason (13) Moss led the game in points with 27 for the Mystics, with Browne adding 17.
Team Northumbria faced another overtime game, having lost to Manchester Mystics by 4 in overtime last weekend. The first half was a back and forth contest between the two teams, with neither being able to hold onto any advantage they had created and Sevenoaks held the lead by just three at half time.
The third quarter saw Sevenoaks gradually build a lead and they led the game 49-57 at the start of the fourth quarter. Team Northumbria kept the home side to just 6 points in the last quarter, waking up defensively and pushing the ball to turn the game around making the scores level as the final buzzer sounded.
Overtime proved to be as competitive as the earlier quarters, with both teams trading baskets until the last seconds of the first period. Northumbria managed to drop the last basket of the period, winning by two points.
Team Northumbria’s Voynova scored 21 in their overtime win, followed by Clark (18) and Spotwood (12) Sevenoaks finished with 21 points from Carr, 14 from Keisha Wright and Lewis with 13.
This weekend Nottingham Wildcats take on top of the league Sheffield Hatters, whilst Loughborough Riders travel to Cardiff to face the Archers. Barking Abbey will take the trip Newcastle to play Team Northumbria and Sevenoaks travel to Manchester Mystics.