Lions Knock Out the Eagles to Advance to WBBL Playoff Semi Final. Player of the Game Award, Holly Winterburn Records 21 Points, 5 Rebounds, 5 Assists and 1 Steal.
Low-Post Specialist Ty Battle Puts Up 15 Points, 8 Rebounds, and One Assist to Help Crush Newcastle.
The Lions’ Stella Kaltsidou-helmed squad completed their objective and knocked out the Newcastle Eagles to advance to the Women’s British Basketball League Playoff Semi-finals.
Katsiaryna Snytsina opened up the Lions’ account with two back-to-back triples following the Eagles’ free throw makes (6-2). Less than one minute later, Newcastle’s leading bucket-getter Antoinette Lewis, recorded the club’s third and fourth points.
Unfortunately for the Northeasterners, they would be forced to wait another four minutes to score again as London went on a 9-0 run that earnt them a 15-4 lead. However, said Lions’ run wasn’t without its hardships as London struggled to connect from anywhere on the floor shortly after Holly Winterburn put the Lions up by nine points (13-4).
Much like the opening few minutes, the Lions forced the Eagles into a scoring drought after they scored their eighth point. This drought lasted until the end of the quarter. What started as a ten-point lead (18-8) finished as an 18-point lead (26-8) by the end of the period.
Shanice Beckford-Norton hit two free throw shots to open up the second period and earn the Lions' 20-point lead. To the Eagle’s credit, they kept the lead under 20 points for several minutes, but their defence struggled under the might of the Lions’ paint and long-range attacks.
After the halfway point of the quarter, the London advantage ballooned to 24 points (39-15). Maggie Justinak and Courtney Clasen tried their best to help the Eagles keep the deficit under 20 points, but a 13-0 London charge in the last three minutes dashed those hopes away (52-20).
Although the Lions’ offence only generated 18 points in the third, it was enough to keep the Eagles at a significant distance. The Geordies cut the score down to 27 points via a low post, move from Lewis, but that was short-lived as an 11-0 run to close the quarter put London 70-32 ahead.
Newcastle’s offence regressed to just five points during the last quarter. All five points were scored by Antoinette Lewis, who finished the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Effectively the fourth quarter was a 16-5 scoring run that condemned the Eagles to an early spring/summer and allowed the Lions to advance to the final four.
Holly Winterburn led the South London job with 21 points, which she complimented with five rebounds, five assists and one steal. The Eagles’ ill-advised “hack-a-Holly” job backfired on the northeasterners as she knocked down nine of her twelve attempts from the free throw line.
As predicted, Ty Battle played a massive role in the dominant win completing 85.7% of her shots in the paint en route to 15 points. The Eagles struggled to contain the low-post specialist as she grabbed eight rebounds to give her team and herself several second chance opportunities to score.
Katsiaryna Snytsina led the team with four 3-pointers to finish the game with 12 points. Snytsina’s highly underrated defensive capabilities were again on full display as she collected two steals, blocked one shot and pulled down four defensive rebounds.
Shequila Joseph led the bench mob tallying 13 points to go with eight rebounds, one assist and one steal. Leslie Vorpahl recorded nine rebounds, a WBBL career high for the 5’7” point guard. The proud Texas native scored five points and dished out five assists to go with her rebound tally.