Unlucky for some, it’s Week 13 of our Power Rankings in a week that saw little movement around the league.
London, Leicester and Sevenoaks remain locked in an exciting title race, while Kennedy Leonard broke more records in the WBBL.
Latest results: WBBL Championship – Palatinates 67-68 Archers, Pride 75-92 Wildcats, Suns 93-55 Palatinates, Wolves 57-52 Rebels, Archers 71-93 Lions, Riders 65-57 Mystics, Lions 91-59 Pride, Riders 72-47 Eagles
[denotes position from previous week]
(league record followed by overall record in all comps.)
Dominant from the Lions and historic from Kennedy Leonard. The GB international dished out a WBBL-record 21 assists to go with 13 points and eight steals in the win against Caledonia in the second part of their double-winning weekend.
London didn’t allow for any slow starts as they jumped out to a 16-28 start in Cardiff before a 28-14 opening set them on their way to an emphatic win at home to Caledonia with Stephanie Umeh firing in 27 points – the majority of which were provided by Leonard. A more challenging week is in store with games against top-four opposition in Essex and Sevenoaks – the latter of which with huge ramifications for the title race.
Next game: v Essex Rebels (H) – CH – 2nd April
The Suns continue to grow in confidence and were able to give extended minutes to their junior contingent during their 38-point home win against Durham. Cat Carr had 19 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and five steals to lead the way before enjoying some rest in the fourth ahead of a super busy April.
Izzy Wood hit double figures off the bench and the Suns head into the final month as the only unbeaten team in the league. Len Busch’s side have the return fixture against London on Sunday, but first face a trip to Nottingham, who were the last team to beat them in the league.
Next game: v Nottingham Wildcats (A) – CH – 2nd April
Double-winning weekend at home for the Riders with their defence beginning to look as fierce as it did earlier in the season. Leicester led by as many as 21 in beating Manchester before a more complete performance saw them brush aside the challenge of Newcastle.
Azania Stewart had 13 points and nine rebounds on Saturday with seven players netting 6+ points, while Amber Smith posted 21 points in the win over the Eagles with Katie Januszewska adding 13 points off the bench. They head to Cardiff on Saturday before hosting Durham with the aim of two more wins.
Next game: v Cardiff Met Archers (A) – CH – 3rd April
The Rebels have dropped two on the bounce to probably put an end to their title hopes, though they are already nailed on for the ‘over-achievers’ team award following their fantastic start. Essex edged the first and fourth periods, but were outscored 15-8 in the second to leave them chasing the game late on.
Angel Waithe, Carla Bieg and Andrea Kohlhaas had an off day with a combined 3-of-26 shooting with Ashleigh Munns putting up 16 in defeat. The Rebels stay on the road this week with trips to London and Newcastle as they look to hold onto their spot in the top four.
Next game: v London Lions (A) – CH – 2nd April
The Wildcats were back on court a few days after their Trophy final defeat and moved above .500 in the league as they pulled clear of Caledonia on the road to win by 17 points. Chelsey Shumpert fired in a game-high of 26 points having been without partner-in-crime Jasmine Joyner following her recent injury.
Simone Costa played a pivotal role with 20 points, five rebounds and six assists with Moa Lundqvist posting 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Wildcats have a double-header at home with games against Sevenoaks and Oaklands with the chance to close the gap on fourth-placed Essex.
Next game: v Sevenoaks Suns (H) – CH – 2nd April
After a loss to London on Tuesday, the Mystics were up against top-two opposition again at the weekend as they fell to an eight-point loss on the road against Leicester. However, from being down by 21 points, they cut the gap to single figures before running out of time.
Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee had a team-high 15 points to close on becoming the 11th member of the 1000-point club in the WBBL Championship. The Mystics welcomed back Dom Allen and their defence held the Riders to seven points in the fourth. From the top two to the bottom two, next on their schedule.
Next game: v Durham Palatinates (H) – CH – 31st March
The Wolves avenged a two-point loss to Essex earlier this month with a five-point success, behind a 19-point outing from Melita Emanuel-Carr. Lee Ryan’s side had Amari Carter back for the clash and they also had a double-double from Lauren Milligan – finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
A huge home game against Cardiff is on Wednesday with the two sides with identical league records. An eight-point victory on the road at the start of the month could be crucial for the head-to-head, while the winner will move a win clear of ninth-placed Newcastle, and maintain a game in hand.
Next game: v Cardiff Met Archers (H) – CH – 31st March
Another 40-minute struggle for the offence at the hands of the Riders defence for Chris Bunten’s side as they were held to 47 points in a 25-point loss. Newcastle drop to ninth in the standings as both Oaklands and Cardiff picked up wins over the past week.
Alison Gorrell had 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting, but no player shot better with more than two field goal attempts as the Eagles were down at 26% from the floor as a team. There were positives and the second half was only 27-22 in favour of the hosts. Only six games remain with Essex next at home on Sunday.
Next game: v Essex Rebels (H) – CH – 4th April
It was hard work, but the Archers recorded their fourth league victory in midweek as they battled past Durham on the road in the narrowest of margins. It was a different affair at the weekend as they were beaten by 22 points at home to London having been without Mara Marchizotti and Cristina Bigica for both encounters.
Kim Kheing led the comeback charge on the road with 18 points and seven assists with Marlee Ball also adding 18 points as they erased a 40-29 deficit in the second. Shannon Hatch top scored with 16 points against the Lions, but Cardiff were unable to contain the red-hot visitors who shot 60% from inside.
Next game: v Oaklands Wolves (A) – CH – 31st March
Contrasting defeats for Durham this week as they came close to doubling their win tally on the season before a tough loss on the road against the high-flying Suns – without Clare Paxton, too.
The Palatinates led by as many as 11 in midweek at home to Cardiff, but were held to just seven points in the third quarter and ended up coming up short by a single point, despite a mammoth 20 points and 17 rebounds from Kara Elderkin. They battled to the end against Sevenoaks, but it was always an uphill struggle and they can still take heart from their improved displays in recent weeks with the playoffs still not impossible.
Next game: v Manchester Met Mystics (A) – CH – 31st March
Two more defeats to take their losing run to seven in a row as Pride are now two wins adrift of three of the teams above them. Caledonia fell to a 17-point loss at home to Nottingham in midweek before a comprehensive loss away at the league-leading Lions.
Sian Phillips had another big game in the defeat against the Wildcats with 24 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals with Maud Ranger adding 17-8-6. Pride were then unable to recover from an early 28-14 deficit against London and were left to rue a total of 34 turnovers as the gap continued to grow.
Next game: v Manchester Met Mystics (H) – CH – 3rd April
All fixtures subject to change and according to official release.
*BA London Lions 0-20 Oaklands Wolves – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
*Oaklands Wolves 0-20 Cardiff Met Archers – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
*Sevenoaks Suns 20-0 Oaklands Wolves – WBBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
*BA London Lions 20-0 Sevenoaks Suns – WBBL Trophy (COVID-19 regulations)
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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]