The second weekend of the regular season action saw three teams pick up their first league victories with three teams moving to 2-0 at the top.
London Lions, Gloucester City Queens and Sheffield Hatters all doubled their win tallies in an unbeaten start as six games took place.
These rankings are determined by several factors including both recent results and upcoming schedule and are just the opinion of the writer.
Latest results: WBBL Championship – Durham Palatinates 71-76 Gloucester City Queens; Caledonia Pride 57-56 Newcastle Eagles; Manchester Met Mystics 46-79 Sheffield Hatters; Essex Rebels 46-79 Sevenoaks Suns; Oaklands Wolves 57-67 Cardiff Met Archers; London Lions 85-53 Leicester Riders
[denotes position from previous week]
(league record followed by overall record in all comps.)
Another win and another statement made by the Lions as they blew the Riders away in the fourth quarter to turn a two-possession game into a 30+ point win. Holly Winterburn scored 21 points against her former side, moving past the 1000-point milestone in the league, while GB legend Jo Leedham-Warner made a WBBL debut with four points and three rebounds.
Kennedy Leonard handed out 13 assists in the win with London’s defence turning the screw once more. They head on the road this week with a trip to Germany in EuroCup action before visiting Essex in the league with a chance to move to 3-0.
Next game: v Essex Rebels (A) – CH – 16th October
72 wins in 75 games in the last four league seasons became 73 wins in 76 as the Suns began their title defence with a dominant victory over Essex. Cat Carr led the way again with 20 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, but there were solid contributions throughout including a double-double for Renee Busch and Jamila Thompson collecting 15 boards.
The Suns restricted their opponents at the other end with an impressive defensive display and now return to Surrey Sports Park for their home opener as they welcome 0-2 Newcastle.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (H) – CH – 16th October
The Hatters continued their early season momentum with another 30+ point winning margin as they won convincingly in Manchester. Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee made a summer switch from the Mystics and returned with 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals in an all-round display.
Georgia Gayle was the main benefactor from those finds and hit six more triples in a 20-point haul with Ariona Gill adding a double-double from the bench to highlight the team’s strength in depth. They have a big test this weekend in the form of a trip to take on Leicester on Sunday.
Next game: v Leicester Riders (A) – CH – 17th October
The Riders saw their four-game unbeaten start to the season ended in emphatic fashion as they crashed to a 32-point loss at the Copper Box. However, there were plenty of positive signs as they used a 15-3 run in the third to close the gap to six points before running out of steam in the fourth.
London’s defence gave them nothing early, but Chelsea Jennings and Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus both hit some tough shots, especially in the first half, before Anna Lappenkuper provided a third quarter spark. Derrick Washington’s side are still adjusting and their next challenge comes in the shape of an in-form Sheffield side.
Next game: v Sheffield Hatters (H) – CH – 17th October
Two from two. Gloucester survived a shooting barrage from Durham to come away with a five-point victory in their first road game in the league. Melita Emanuel-Carr stepped up with a 21-point haul along with seven boards and five assists, while Claire Abbott hit five triples – including three in a 9-2 burst – to finish with 15 points.
Head coach Jay Marriott admitted to letting the excitement get the better of him after being ejected for a second technical in the fourth, but Abbott’s blitz followed in the aftermath in a crucial spell. The Queens can become the fourth side to win their first three league games when they host Manchester on Sunday.
Games taken to reach two league wins for WBBL newcomers (joined after 2014-15):
Caledonia Pride – 13
Oaklands Wolves – 29
Durham Palatinates – 13
Essex Rebels – 13@GlosCityQueens – 2
— Bradley Gains (@BradHoopsfix) October 12, 2021
Next game: v Manchester Met Mystics (H) – CH – 17th October
The Eagles would have been expecting to put their opening defeat behind them when they faced Caledonia on the road, but their troubles mounted with a one-point defeat exacerbated by further injuries to Ebony Horton – who had 18 points – and Jessica Eadsforth-Yates.
Chris Bunten’s side again recovered from a slow start as they battled back from 15 down to lead late in the third, but they failed to find the crucial go-ahead score in the final few minutes as Pride held on for a narrow triumph. They meet Sevenoaks on Saturday in a first clash since their semi-final victory in last season’s playoffs.
Next game: v Sevenoaks Suns (A) – CH – 16th October
It was always going to be a tough ask to start against the defending champions and Essex fell to a 33-point loss in front of a nice crowd at home. The Rebels were kept to under 50 points with just 25% shooting from the floor as they welcomed back Claire Paxton, Ashleigh Munns and Andrea Kohlhaas to the court.
They remain without Lucrezia Costa and the lack of size resulted in losing the battle of the boards 70-38 with Sevenoaks scoring 42 points in the paint. Essex continue their difficult start to the season when they welcome London on Saturday in a repeat of their earlier Cup clash.
Next game: v London Lions (H) – CH – 16th October
This could be a trend this season, particularly in the battle for the top eight with all the teams beating each other. Cardiff bounced back from a loss to Gloucester with a road win of their own in beating Oaklands by 10 behind a 22-point performance from Shannon Hatch.
The Archers coughed up 25 turnovers in the contest, but were not punished as their defence held firm – particularly in the third quarter – and they picked up their first league win. Cardiff will look to double their tally away from home again on Saturday with a trip to Durham.
Next game: v Durham Palatinates (A) – CH – 16th October
The Mystics opened their league campaign with another heavy defeat at the hands of Sheffield as they were beaten by 33 points at home. Still awaiting reinforcements, Manchester were held to 25% shooting from the field and gave up 28 second chance points as they were out-rebounded 57-42.
Georgia Jones and Lauren Thomas-Johnson had 13 points apiece with the Mystics hosting Caledonia this Saturday in search of a first win, whilst also travelling to face newcomers Gloucester the following day.
Next game: v Caledonia Pride (H) – CH – 16th October
Oaklands were unable to follow up their impressive road win in Newcastle with a victory at home as they suffered a 10-point loss to Cardiff. A five-point third quarter stalled their progress and despite a brief bright spell in the fourth, the deficit was too much to make up in the fourth.
Greeta Uprus returned to action to top score with 14 points, but it was a tough shooting overall as a team with no player above 50% from the floor. The Wolves head back on the road this weekend as they take on the Wildcats with consistency going to be key in the long race for the playoffs.
Next game: v Nottingham Wildcats (A) – CH – 16th October
Nottingham are back in action this weekend as they look to get themselves off the mark in the win column following three defeats in all competitions. Kenrick Liburd’s side host Oaklands on Saturday with another chance for their players to gel in their home opener.
Next game: v Oaklands Wolves (H) – CH – 16th October
What a response from the Pride to put a 50+ point defeat behind them and battle their way to a dramatic one-point triumph over Newcastle. Leading duo Sian Phillips and Maud Ranger posted double-doubles, but there were strong performances from Sophie Loughran and Elise Tweedi in adding bests of 12 points with the starters scoring all of their points.
Caledonia raced into a 19-4 start before being pegged back with two single-figure scoring quarters as they had to survive a nervy final few minutes after Loughran had made it 57-56 with 3:21 remaining. They visit Manchester on the road on Saturday before welcoming Durham in Scotland in a first double-header this weekend.
Durham drop to the foot of our rankings, but they can take a lot of positives out of their defeat to Gloucester on Saturday. Four starters played 39+ minutes – including new American addition Elle Hendershot – with Kara Elderkin and Victoria Natufe not involved.
Goretti Hurtado fired in a 27-point haul as the hosts hit 12 triples in 39 attempts from beyond the arc with Izzy Wood hitting five in a career-high 19-point effort. The Palatinates led by as many as 13 in the contest, but were unable to contain the Queens down the stretch as they fell to 0-2. A double-header is up next with a home game against Cardiff before visiting Caledonia in search of a first league win.
Next game: v Cardiff Met Archers (H) – CH – 16th October
All fixtures subject to change and according to official release.
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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]