Three leading contenders, but there can only be one winner. The WBBL Championship race promises an exciting conclusion with a hectic final month in store to determine the regular season champions.
London Lions and Leicester Riders currently occupy the top two spots, though Sevenoaks Suns have the only unbeaten record albeit with a backlog of fixtures ahead of them.
London’s only defeats this season both came against Sevenoaks. Leicester’s only defeats this season came on the same weekend – against London and Essex – after the departure of two key players. And, Sevenoaks’ only defeat this season came against Leicester in the Cup final – after taking a month’s break.
Essex Rebels also deserve a mention in this. At 8-4, they are virtually guaranteed to have their best season to date in the WBBL and while they are still in contention for the title, even eight wins might not be enough – but they could still play a pivotal role with games against all three sides.
Here’s the tale of the tape looking at the current top three:
Win percentage: 0.917
Form guide (last 5 games): ✅✅✅❎✅
Points per game: 85.2 [1st]
Stat leaders: Cassie Breen – 19.9ppg, 48.8% 3PT; Kennedy Leonard – 15.0ppg, 10.9apg
Strength of remaining schedule: (Average win % – 0.589)
v Essex – 2nd April, 2:30pm; v Sevenoaks – 4th April, 1pm; @ Caledonia – 7th April, 6pm; @ Essex – 11th April, 3:30pm; @ Leicester – 14th April, 5pm; v Manchester – 17th April, TBA; v Leicester – 24th April, 4:30pm; @ Durham – 28th April, 6pm
Win percentage: 0.909
Form guide (last 5 games): ✅✅✅✅❎
Points per game: 74.4 [5th]
Stat leaders: Holly Winterburn – 14.6ppg, 7.0rpg, 5.6 apg; Azania Stewart 9.4ppg, 6.4rpg
Strength of remaining schedule: (Average win % – 0.598)
@ Cardiff – 3rd April, 2pm; v Durham – 4th April, 4pm; @ Durham – 7th April, 7pm; v Nottingham – 11th April, 4pm; v London – 14th April – 5pm; v Essex – 17th April, 4pm; @ Sevenoaks – 21st April, 2:30pm; @ London – 24th April, 4:30pm; v Sevenoaks – 25th April, 4pm
Win percentage: 1.000
Form guide (last 5 games): ✅✅✅✅✅
Points per game: 76.5 [3rd]
Stat leaders: Cat Carr – 18.3ppg, 7.5rpg, 7.4apg; Ta’Yani Clark – 11ppg, 7.9rpg, 4.5apg
Strength of remaining schedule: (Average win % – 0.525)
@ Nottingham – 2nd April, 6pm; @ London – 4th April, 1pm; v Cardiff – 7th April, 2:30pm; @ Oaklands – 8th April, 7pm; v Caledonia – 10th April, 1:30pm; @ Cardiff – 11th April, 3:15pm; @ Manchester – 14th April, 5pm; v Nottingham – 17th April, 1:30pm; @ Essex – 18th April, 3pm; v Leicester – 21st April, 2:30pm; @ Leicester – 25th April, 4pm; @ Caledonia – 28th April, 6pm
London 0-1 Sevenoaks (Suns won 75-72 at home)
Sevenoaks 0-0 Leicester
Leicester 0-0 London
Of the six games to take place between the trio of title hopefuls, only one has taken place so far. That leaves the exciting prospect of some huge clashes in April with massive implications in the title race. If teams finish with the same record, the head-to-head record becomes the deciding factor – as it did in the 2017-18 season, Sevenoaks edged out Leicester to the title after both finished 19-1.
The final day is currently slated for 28th April with Lions and Suns both in action on the road, while the Riders would have already finished with their final three games seeing them face Sevenoaks twice, as well as London in a four-day span.
Hopefully this doesn’t become an issue, but we are still in a pandemic and Oaklands’ latest postponed games show COVID-19 can still disrupt the fixture list. As the regular season nears its conclusion, the return of 20-0 forfeits will come in, as per the earlier cup competitions, and would be a horrible way to potentially decide a title race. With the amount of games still to be played over the final month, it cannot be disregarded.
The Hoopsfix GIPHY library can be viewed, HERE.
Also, the battle for the playoffs is heating up with the bottom five sides currently separated by three wins. Keep an eye out for permutations to come over the final weekends.
Brad has been a writer for Hoopsfix since 2014 and has also had freelance roles at the BBL and with FIBA – working at two Women’s EuroBasket tournaments. Contact: [email protected]