London Lions Claim Statement 133-75 Bounce Back Win Over Cardiff Archers. “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan Erupts for 31-Point, 7-Rebound and 3-Assist Performance. Snytsina, Winterburn and Harrigan Combine for 12 of the Lions' 16 3-Pointers.
Exactly one week after having their 52-win streak stopped by their north-of-the-border rivals, the London Lions stepped back onto the Copper Box hardwood, rearing to take their frustrations out on the Cardiff Archers. To put it mildly, the Stella Kaltsidou-helmed squad did not disappoint.
Azania Stewart got things off to an excellent start, winning the tip-off versus positional rival Mara Marchizotti. The veteran, who recently retired from Team GB after helping the national team qualify for the upcoming FIBA Women’s EuroBasket, poked the ball to Holly Winterburn, who took advantage of Cardiff’s sleepy transition defence to slot home an open layup.
Coincidently, the Cardiffians made the Londoners pay for their own poor transition defence when Archer captain Shannon Hatch returned fire to sink a wide-open corner 3-point shot. This was the last of the Welsh good fortune, at least for almost the next three minutes, as the Lions went on a bruising 16-0 run to stake claim to an early 18-3 lead.
Katsiaryna Snytsina’s back-to-back triples helped to ignite the run, with the latter being a perfectly timed-in-rhythm shot off well-worked floppy action. Winterburn dimed the FIBA EuroCup legend both times and continued her high-IQ tyranny when she hit “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan with a sweet assist for the team’s third straight trey-ball (11-3).
Two-way guard Taylor Murray forced the Welsh-based squad into a timeout after her commanding coast-to-coast fast-break floater pushed the London lead out to 13-3. Unfortunately, the Archers’ ATO failed to bear fruits after Marchizotti missed her lot layup. Lions punished the Archers’ failed ATO attempt with buckets from Winterburn and another triple from Snytsina (18-3).
Cardiff scored five more times during the quarter, while the Lions completed several scoring runs. These runs were highlighted by three additional 3-pointers from the Lions, one of which came from Leslie Vorpahl, whose mum was sitting courtside, visiting London for the first time, all the way from San Antonino, Texas. London ended the quarter with a 45-13 lead, led by Kiki’s 17-point performance and Snytsina’s nine points through her perfect 3-point shooting first period (3/3).
The Archers scored 25 points in the second quarter, 12 more points than in the first period. However, their scoring brace did little to make the Lions uncomfortable as they extended their advantage with the help of their 30 second-quarter points.
Birthday girl and highly underrated shooter Shequila Joseph broke London’s duck shortly after Lauren Saiki scored the period’s first points. Skipper Shanice Beckford-Norton followed up the birthday girl’s bucket with a triple. Not too long after Archer guard Abigail Yunker sunk her charity strip shots, the Lions went on a 7-0 run, which was capped off by Joseph’s trey ball (56-19).
The Archers cut the Big Smoke lead down to 30 points on four occasions but couldn’t get any closer. Hatch’s triple at the 04:14 mark was the last time Cardiff got that close during the period (60-30). Murray’s and-1 bucket then sparked a 15-8 run towards the end of the quarter, which Winterburn capped off with a walk-off buzzer-beater triple to complete the first half (75-38).
Buckets from “Kiki” and Winterburn contributed to the Lions' 5-2 third-quarter opening surge. However, Kiki’s block on Bunyan got the home faithful up on their feet, as it seemed to knock the confidence out of the Welsh side and ignited yet another scoring surge from London.
The Lions suffocating lockdown defence contributed to their six steals, as well as poor shooting from their opponents. As a result, the Archers could only muster up 13 total points during the quarter. The home squad reached yet another 100-point milestone (101-44) off the back of beautiful and, quite frankly, sublime ball movement, which ended with yet another triple from sniper Snytsina.
Captain Beckford-Norton extended the lead to 60 points with a wide-open trey ball off a sweet high-IQ dime from Shequila Joseph. The Lions scored ten more to end the period with a gaudy 110-54 lead.
The fourth quarter was much more of a back-and-forth affair, as although the Lions scored 23 points, they conceded 21. Cardiff got off to an exciting start going on a 0-6 run. However, the Welsh effort did nothing to trouble the home squad, who hit back-to-back buckets to quail the Archers’.
The Lions hit three back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers during a one-minute and twenty-eight-second period which continued to suppress the Archers. Although Cardiff took advantage of several bad calls, sinking several free throws, they could do nothing to get close to the Lions. Ty Battle got Lions’ final bucket before Hatch ended the game with a triple.
Great birthday present win for Shequila Joseph!