This weekend sees the National Cup Finals taking place at Ponds Forge in Sheffield and the action will tip off when hometown City of Sheffield Hatters face off with Team Northumbria in the Women's final.
Hatters are the most successful basketball club in England with 17 league, 14 playoff and 15 cup titles since 1990. Sunday will mark their 9th consecutive appearance in the National Cup Final and they will be looking for their 5th consecutive final win.
On the other bench, Northumbria will be in their first ever cup final and they have never finished higher than fourth in the league, making them prohibitive underdogs at the weekend.
The underdog tag is even further enforced by the form of both teams in the 2012/13 season. Hatters are unbeaten at the top of VCARS.co.uk Division 1, having won their league games by an average of over 40 points per contest with no team getting closer than 30 points. Northumbria are in 7th spot in the league table with a 4-5 record, but have only 1 league win since December 2.
Hatters will be led by familiar faces in GB Olympian Julie Page (188-PF-83, college: E.Washington), Stephanie Gandy (178-F-82, college: Michigan), the Naylor sisters - Helen and Sarah - and New Zealand international Charmian Purcell. Their high-scoring season is relfected in the fact the Page, Gandy and Helen Naylor all average more than 18 points per game for Vanessa Ellis' side.
Northumbria's attack will once again be led by Ta'Yani Clark, who has been one of the best imports in the league for a number of seasons and this term averages 17.50 points, 9.75 rebounds and 4.25 assists per contest to be in the top 6 in the league in all categories.
Clark will need to be at her best if she hopes to upset the formbook in front of a bumper crowd at Ponds Forge that will no doubt provide noisy support for Hatters.
The Women's final tips at 1:15pm on Sunday. Tickets will be available on the door and will also grant access to the men's final between Bristol Academy Flyers and Leeds Carnegie at 3:30pm.
If you are unable to make it to Ponds Forge you can follow the live stats for the game on our website. Courtesy of: http://www.englandbasketball.co.uk
It's been a tough season so far for Team Northumbria, but head coach Christoper Bunten is still eyeing up silverware as the WBBL Trophy tips-off this weekend. In what's looking like a really tough Northern Pool, Northumbria are ready to face Nottingham Wildcats on Sunday. 'Following the success of the WBBL and BBL Cup Finals, it helps to put the women's game on the map and so the chance to play in a big sold out venue like the Barclaycard Arena or the Emirates Arena for the Trophy is a... [read more]
It's been a tough season so far for Team Northumbria, but head coach Christoper Bunten is still eyeing up silverware as the WBBL Trophy tips-off this weekend.
In what's looking like a really tough Northern Pool, Northumbria are ready to face Nottingham Wildcats on Sunday.
'Following the success of the WBBL and BBL Cup Finals, it helps to put the women's game on the map and so the chance to play in a big sold out venue like the Barclaycard Arena or the Emirates Arena for the Trophy is a dream come true for any player,' said the play-caller.
'The geographical split of the Trophy sees three of the top teams in Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield in the North Group with ourselves and Caledonia Pride.
'We aren't in the top trio due to a tough season with player eligibility and injuries - although I feel we're still a very tough team to face.
'Whoever finishes first and second in the North Group will probably meet in the Final and the good thing about having such a competitive pool is if you can prove yourself during the qualifying stages and take that confidence forward.'
Bunten continued, 'We are excited to play Nottingham off the back of two great performances against Leicester and Sheffield. But unfortunately, we have suffered a season-ending injury to our fantastic sharp shooter Chloe Bully (173-F, college: Catawba).
'This season has been testing for myself and players in different ways. We haven't had a fully fit team for any games and this will continue for the rest of the season.
'This being said, it's been my most enjoyable season as the group we have are selfless and have not let all the adversity affect them. They are all a joy to coach and are such a tight-knit group.
'Meanwhile players like Jodie Tucker and Sarah Birkett have really shown how far they have come since starting the programme and I also believe this is down to the atmosphere created by our leaders with their hard work and commitment.
'We also have great support staff who work around the clock and together, I feel Northumbria players are constantly improving all elements of their game.
'As a coach, my main job is to ensure women's basketball in the UK continues to improve,' concluded Bunten.
Before Wildcats face Northumbria, they will entertain Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters on Saturday, while Sevenoaks Suns entertain Barking Abbey Crusaders in the South Group.
Suns then travel to Leicester Riders for another Trophy match-up on Sunday, with Caledonia Pride hosting recently crowned WBBL Cup winners Manchester Mystics and Oaklands Wolves welcoming Cardiff Met Archers.
Oaklands Wolves are delighted to announce the return of alumni Lizzy Harrison(180-G) for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign. The 5ft 11in wing who has been playing at the NCAA II Newman University in the States, will give the Wolves a real boost as they continue their search for a historic first ever WBBL Championship victory. 'I'm so excited to be back playing for Oaklands,' said Harrison. 'A lot has changed since I was first here eight years ago, but it still feels like home. 'O... [read more]
Oaklands Wolves are delighted to announce the return of alumni Lizzy Harrison (180-G) for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign.
The 5ft 11in wing who has been playing at the NCAA II Newman University in the States, will give the Wolves a real boost as they continue their search for a historic first ever WBBL Championship victory.
'I'm so excited to be back playing for Oaklands,' said Harrison.
'A lot has changed since I was first here eight years ago, but it still feels like home.
'Oaklands played a huge role in helping me develop my game and getting to the States and I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to return as one of the senior players and to play in front of friends and family each week.'
She added, 'The WBBL is a really competitive league, it has a great mix of experienced players and young talent.
'We are a really young team, but we're improving every time we step on the court and we're ready to get some wins.'
Head coach Kenrick Liburd is thrilled to have landed his new recruit.
He said: 'Straight away we have a more competitive environment when she steps on the court.
'We are bringing in a player who is passionate about playing basketball and is passionate about playing for Oaklands Wolves.
'Besides the intangibles, Lizzy, is a skilled wing, that will bring maturity and toughness to the group - she is also able to impact the game at both ends of the floor.'
Harrison will get a chance to see her first WBBL action this weekend, when Wolves host Cardiff Met Archers on Sunday as they open their Trophy campaign.
Kennedy Leonard selected the top British players playing abroad in last week's games - 3 days ago
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Here is the weekly review of the top performing British players, who play currently abroad. Alexandra Bunton (198-C-93) could not help one of league's weakest teams Dynamo Moscow (4-8) in their last game. Despite her good performance Dynamo Moscow was badly defeated 88-71 on the road by the higher-ranked (#7) Enisey Krasnoyarsk.
Here is the weekly review of the top performing British players, who play currently abroad.
#1. This week's number one is U20 international guard Kennedy Leonard (173-96, currently plays college basketball in the States), who plays in the NCAA. Leonard could not help the Colorado (0-5) in their last game on Sunday. Despite her very good performance the Colorado was defeated 84-70 on the road by the Stanford University.
Leonard scored 22 points and added 7 assists.
Leonard has individually a very good season with high stats. She averages: 18.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 5.6apg, 2.6spg, 2FGP: 46.5%, 3FGP: 28.1% and FT: 73.4%.
Leonard is currently a member of the British U20 national team.
#2. Second place goes to an experienced international guard Rachael Vanderwal (175-83, college: Boston U., currently plays in Spain). She managed to help Mann Filter Zaragoza in a victory against the 11th-ranked Socinsa Bembibre (6-9) 61-48 in the Spanish LFB last Sunday.
Vanderwal scored only 4 points in 23 minutes.
Mann Filter Zaragoza (7-8) is placed seventh in the LFB.
This year Vanderwal's overall stats are: 5.5ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 38.3%, 3FGP: 30.4% and FT: 68.2% in 15 games she played so far.
She has a dual citizenship: Canadian and British.
Vanderwal is in the roster of the British senior national team.
#3. The British player who performed third best last week abroad was an international center Azania Stewart (195-89, agency: Josep and Nicolas, college: Florida, currently plays in Spain). She contributed to a Campus Promete's victory against the closely-ranked Al-Qazeres (8-7) 82-70 in the Spanish LFB on Friday night.
Stewart scored only 3 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Campus Promete Logrono (7-8) is placed sixth in the LFB.
Stewart's total stats this season are: 5.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2FGP: 57.1%(32-56) and FT: 65.0%.
Ex-Barking Abbey Leopards player is also a member of the British senior national team.
#4. Forward Shequila Joseph (190-95, currently studies in the States) helped Mississippi win their game against the University of Tennessee (1-0) 67-62 in the NCAA in Thursday night's game.
She scored 7 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 30 minutes.
The The University of Mississippi has 1-4 conference record this season.
It's Joseph's fourth year with the team.
This year Joseph's total stats are: 5.0ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.1apg and 1.2spg in 17 games.
She used to play for the British U20 national team
back in 2014.
#5. Former U20 international forward Gemma Bullard (178-92, currently plays in Canada) helped Queen's University win their game against the Rams (9-2) 79-75 in the Canadian university league CIS on Friday night.
She scored only 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 14 minutes.
The Queen's University has quite an impressive 10-0 record this season.
So far her team won all ten games in the Regular Season.
Bullard has been at the team for seven years.
Bullard has averaged so far 5.8ppg and 3.3rpg in six games.
She is another player who holds two passports: British and Canadian.
Bullard used to play for the British U20 national team
five years ago.
#6. Guard Eilidh Simpson (170-92, college: St.Francis, NY, currently plays in Spain) was not able to help Sant Adria (11-3) in their last game on Tuesday. Despite her good performance the second-placed Sant Adria (11-3) was edged 60-59 at home by the lower-ranked Barcelona (#5) in the Group A.
Simpson scored 11 points.
Simpson has averaged so far 6.3ppg, 2.3rpg and 1.2spg.
She is an international player who is currently on the senior British National Team roster.
The list of other players, who all have British passport but never been selected to any of British national teams:
#1.Alexandra Bunton (198-C-93, currently plays in Russia) could not help one of league's weakest teams Dynamo Moscow (4-8) in their last game. Despite her good performance Dynamo Moscow was badly defeated 88-71 on the road by the higher-ranked (#7) Enisey Krasnoyarsk.
Bunton recorded 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 31 minutes.
It was Dynamo Moscow's third consecutive loss in a row.
Bunton has relatively good stats this year: 11.3ppg and 9.1rpg in 12 games she played so far.
She has a dual citizenship: British and Australian.
Despite Bunton's British passport, she previously played for the Australian U22 national team and is probably not eligible to play for the British team.
#2. Experienced Shona Thorburn (178-G-82, college: Utah, currently plays in France) contributed to a Nantes Reze's victory against the closely-ranked Mondeville (7-7) 64-55 in the French LFB on Saturday night.
She scored 10 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 6 assists in 29 minutes.
Nantes Reze Basket (8-6) is placed fifth in the LFB.
This year Thorburn's overall stats are: 6.8ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.9apg and 1.4spg in 14 games.
She is another player who holds two passports: Canadian and British.
#3.Lavinia Da Silva (187-C-88, currently plays in Italy) helped Virtus Cagliari win their game against the eighth-ranked San Salvatore (6-8) 72-58 in the Italian Serie A2 (second division) in Saturday night's game.
Da Silva scored 9 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Surgical SRL Virtus Cagliari (5-9) is placed ninth in Group A.
It's Da Silva's first season with the team.
She has relatively good stats this year: 12.4ppg, 11.3rpg and 1.3spg.
Da Silva has both British and Portuguese nationalities.
#4.Mayka Pilz (183-F/C-92, currently plays in Germany) managed to help BG 74 Veilchen Ladies Goettingen to win against the tenth-ranked TuSLi Berlin (3-10) 71-58 in the German 2.Bundesliga (second division) last Sunday.
Pilz recorded only 4 points.
BG 74 Veilchen Ladies Goettingen (11-2) is placed second in North group.
It was her team's fourth consecutive victory in a row.
Pilz has averaged so far 4.9ppg and 3.3rpg.
#5.Ejay Ofomata (180-G/F-86, college: Central State, currently plays in Italy) was not able to help Udine Delser in their game against Marghera (9-4) in the Italian Serie A2 (second division), despite her very good performance last Saturday.
Ofomata had a double-double by scoring 16 points and getting 15 rebounds. She also added and 3 steals in 40 minutes.
But Udine Delser (#6) lost in an overtime 65-70 at home to the higher-ranked (#4) Marghera in the Group B.
It was Udine Delser's first loss after five consecutive victories.
It's Ofomata's first season with the team.
Ofomata has relatively good stats this year: 13.6ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.4apg and 2.4spg in 13 games.
She also holds two passports: Nigerian and British.
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