London Lions
Leicester Riders

The London Lions maintained their perfect league record by trashing their closest challengers, the Leicester Riders, in Loughborough.

Temi Fagbenle was the standout player in a dominant Lions win, in which the Riders went scoreless for over 11 minutes. 

It was the Lions’ first WBBL game back since lifting their fourth consecutive Betty Codona Trophy, where they beat the Essex Rebels in last week’s Birmingham-based finals.

Bouncing back from making three early, consecutive turnovers while 3-2 down, the Lions ended the first quarter with a 26-12 lead. 

The Riders made two threes from seven attempts in the first quarter and went on to make a further one three from another 15 tries. This contributed towards their 13% accuracy over the game. 

In the second quarter, the Lions opened up a 30-point lead with Leicester failing to score for over nine minutes of the ten-minute quarter. 

Conversely, Temi Fagbenle was a dominating presence – scoring ten points and collecting three rebounds in the second quarter individually as the Lions led 46-16 at the half.

The hosts stopped their scoring drought after 11 minutes and 22 seconds, scoring two minutes into the third quarter through a Sam Ashby drive which ended a 24-point Lions scoring run. Meanwhile, Stella Kaltsidou’s side continued to make shots, scoring 47% of their field goal attempts on the evening. The visitors also found a knack for getting to the free-throw line, shooting 19 more free-throws than the Riders did.

With London leading 63-31, the game went into the fourth quarter as a non-contest. However, player of the match, Fagbenle, rounded off her scoring regardless, finishing with 22 points. The former WNBA champion shot an efficient 83% from the field, whilst also picking up six rebounds, two steals and an assist. 

Faye Endean had 14 points, Karlie Samuelson had 12 and Savannah Wilkinson scored 11 for the Lions while Katie Januszewska picked up 11 points off the bench for the Riders. 

January’s Player of the Month, Ashby, was held to just two points. 

Following their victory in the Midlands, the Lions now move to a 7-0 record and remain unbeaten, with fellow challengers the Sheffield Hatters due to visit the Copper Box Arena tomorrow. 

Leicester still remain in the WBBL’s top three and sit comfortably in the play-off positions with a 6-2 record, having suffered their only WBBL defeats this season to the Lions. 

Watch the full game here.

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