Hatters win fifteenth Playoff Final - Apr 28, 2013
City of Sheffield Hatters became fifteen-time Division 1 Playoff champions on Sunday in a battle from beginning to end that saw them defeat a very determined Barking Abbey 70-57.
Much like their semi-final win on Saturday, Sheffield had to overcome a second half double digit deficit to win and again, they dominated the final quarter. Hatters held Barking Abbey to 9 points in the last ten minutes while reeling off 22 of their own.
Julie Page was selected as VCARS.co.uk D1 Women's Playoff Final MVP for her 13 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. She had plenty of support in teammates Sarah Cooney (20 points) and Helen Naylor (19 points).
Turnovers killed Barking Abbey, especially down the stretch, as Hatters converted 26 points off their mistakes helped by their steal count of 16.
During the first three quarters no one could predict a winner. Hatters led at the end of ten minutes but by halftime Abbey were up 32-29. At the midway point all nine Barking Abbey players who go on court had scored
Barking continued the pressure into the third and with six minutes left in the period they had a 10 point advantage (40-30). Like on Saturday, however, Sheffield stormed back with a 14-0 run to move ahead (42-40) with three minutes to play. Melita Emmanuel-Carr, who had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, broke the Sheffield run with a three followed by Page picking up a technical foul. Leah McDerment (180-PG-96) converted on both free throws after the tech and Abbey were back up 45-44. As the clock ran down in the quarter and Abbey up 48-45, Hatters guard Sarah Cooney drained from long range and it was tied up heading into the last 10 minutes.
Steph Gandy's free throw 30 seconds into the period gave Sheffield a lead they wouldn't lose. Mark Clark picked up a technical with six minutes left and with his Abbey team down 57-52 Sheffield went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes. With over three minutes left Sheffield had an 11 point lead and all the momentum.
Barking only managed a further five points for the remainder of the game. Mason finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds for Abbey while Shequila Joseph had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
City of Sheffield Hatters clinched their 16th National Cup success with a 67-55 win over Team Northumbria at Ponds Forge on Sunday.
The crucial phase of the game came in the second and third quarters when Hatters limited Northumbria to just 21 points combined to turn an 18-14 deficit after one quarter into a 49-39 lead prior to the final quarter.
Hatters moved to as many as 16 in front in the final quarter and never saw their lead dip below double figures as they kept Northumbria at arms length.
Northumbria used a spell of five offensive rebounds in three possessions to keep the ball out of Hatters' hands in the first quarter and move out to a 14-8 lead and they still led by 6 early in the second quarter.
A 9-0 run by Hatters over the course of two minutes changed the momentum of the game and it was all Northumbria could do to hang on to the coat tails of the Sheffield side as they trailed by 6 at half-time.
A three from Zoe Vickers brought Northumbria to within 1 early in the third period, but a 6-0 end to the period, including a triple from Stephanie Gandy (178-F-82, college: Michigan) saw Hatters up by 10 and a 6-0 start to the fourth quarter, with 4 points from Helen Naylor, killed off the game.
Northumbria actually shot the ball better from the field than Hatters, but the deciding factors in the game were turnovers (21 for Northumbria, 9 for Sheffield) and free throws (a 14 point edge for Sheffield).
Stephanie Gandy once more took home the MVP award from a final with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Lauren Thomas-Johnson added 17 points on her return to Hatters and Helen Naylor had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Ta'Yani Clark had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Northumbria and Zoe Vickers shot 5 for 7 from deep on her way to 17 points. Courtesy of: http://www.englandbasketball.co.uk
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