Tea Northumbria make history with 2016 Play-Off Final success - May 8, 2016
Team Northumbria defeated Nottingham Wildcats 75-68 as they claimed the final piece of silverware this season in the Molten WBBL Play-Off Final, at The O2 Arena.
The North-East side never led until the final quarter and put together a strong finish to prevent the Wildcats from adding to their WBBL Championship league title.
Abigail Asoro was named the MVP after finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds as well as six steals, while Fiona O'Dwyer (180-F, college: Emmanuel, MA) played her part with 17 points along with 11 boards.
The Wildcats had made a strong start with a 10-4 opening as Melissa Diawakana scored the first 3-pointer of the game. Northumbria closed to within a single point, but five quick-fire points from Siobhan Prior helped her side claim an 18-14 advantage at the end of the first.
Nottingham used a 12-2 run to open up the biggest lead of the game at 38-25 in the second, but once again, Chris Bunten's side hit back and were able to increasingly get to the free throw line with a 10-0 reply to go into half-time down by five.
Northumbria continued their momentum at the start of the third to cut the gap back down to a single point as both defences stepped up their intensity. Ashley Harris and Chloe Bully traded triples late in the period to set up an exciting final quarter.
Harris and Amber Stokes, who combined for 41 points, helped to push the Wildcats out to a 55-49 lead early in the fourth as they threatened to pull away for good. However, Northumbria responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the game on the back of a three from Asoro.
The league runners-up led by as many as four before the Wildcats tied the game at 61-61 heading into the final two minutes as both teams came up with big-time plays down the stretch.
In the end it was Northumbria who were able to edge ahead from the free throw line with Fiona O'Dwyer going 2-of-2 to make it 69-66. The heart and desire was evident in the concluding possessions and Northumbria prevailed - closing out a seven-point win before lifting their first WBBL title.
Hatters retain WBBL Trophy after blasting past Barking - Jan 17, 2016
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters jumped out to a strong start as they retained their WBBL Trophy title with a 79-45 win over Barking Abbey Crusaders at the Barclaycard Arena.
Helen Naylor (180-F-87) had the hot hand in the opening quarter, scoring 11 of her game-high 21 points to earn MVP honours with the Hatters lifting their fourth straight piece of silverware in the WBBL.
Sheffield were in no mood to relinquish their title as they came out flying to race into a 15-0 lead with Naylor scoring seven points during the run.
It took the Crusaders until past the midpoint in the opening period to register their first points as Abiola Wabara scored four points in an 8-1 response.
Naylor ended the quarter with the final four points to take her personal tally into double figures with the Hatters already up by 12. Five points in quick succession from Teresa Da Silva spurred hope of a revival, but the holders went on a 15-2 run to build a commanding lead.
Triples from Naylor and Sabra Wrice in the same corner spot further stretched the advantage, before Sheffield captialised on Barking being in the penalty as the lead reached 23 points at the half.
Barking continued their fight when play resumed, but still found baskets hard to come by with Sheffield maintaining their strong defensive grip on the game. Despite a more competitive third period, the Hatters used an 8-1 close to further increase their lead.
It was more of the same in the final period with Sheffield's stifling defence holding their opponents to just five points over the opening eight minutes of the fourth as they finished with a convincing 34-point victory.
Baendu Lowenthal produced an efficient double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win, while 2012 Olympian Julie Page showcased her big-game temperament with 11 points along with eight boards from the bench.
For the Crusaders, Wabara led the resistance with a stat-line of 12 points, nine rebounds as well as three assists and three blocks. Savannah Wilkinson and Abigail Lowe both hit 10.
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