London Lions Power Past the Sheffield Hatters, 112-77, to Book Golden Ticket to the 2023 WBBL Trophy Finals. Player of the Game, Ty Battle Records 17-Point, 6-Rebound and 2-Steal Performance.
Almost a month after the London dominated their way to the WBBL Trophy semi-finals, the Lions secured their ticket to the finals, beating rivals Sheffield Hatters 112-77. Player of the Game, Ty Battle led the bench mob with 17 points to go with her six rebounds and two steals. The forward shot 66% from the field, 75% from within the arc and sank five of her seven free throw attempts.
Winterburn flirted with a triple-double for most of the game, recording 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and a game-leading four steals. The Team GB superstar was a beast inside the arc and clutch from the charity stripe, connecting on 69% of her 2-point shot attempts and 83% of her opportunities at the free-throw line.
Proud Anguilla native “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan followed suit, connecting on 69%/50%/87% shooting splits. Throughout the encounter, the combo forward took full advantage of Head Coach Stella Kaltsidou's new low-post offensive system sinking 72% of her 2-point attempts – only two of her eleven takes were from mid-range. Harrigan’s shooting performance helped her to record 26 points whilst she collected six rebounds, dished out six assists and grabbed three steals.
The first quarter was a back-and-fourth tussle between the two rivals, exchanging the lead twelve times before the Lions were able to hold on to their advantage (21-17). However, the Hatters kept breathing down their necks, continuously clawing their way back. The South Yorkshire-based outfit got within one point of tying the game with 38 seconds left in the first quarter before “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan’s mid-range dagger put those plans to rest.
The Lions’ slender two-point lead (27-25) was smothered out within the first minute and 21 seconds of the second quarter (27-29). However, this was the last time the 62-year-old club held the lead as Chantel Charles’ trey ball (30-29) slowly but surely opened up the floodgates.
By the period's halfway point, the Lions held a 38-32 advantage. But missed opportunities and live ball turnovers made it difficult for London to extend their control on the game. At the 02:45 mark, the Hatters found themselves only four points behind (44-40). Still, they failed to take advantage of their momentum as experienced shooter Katsiaryna Snytsina put the Lions up by six points. This brace ignited a 9-3 London run condemning the Hatters to a ten-point deficit (53-43) before Hatters’ skipper Hannah Shaw cut the lead to eight points just before the end of the period.
The opening of the third saw the deficit cut between eight and ten points. Once again, a Snytsina connect helped to simmer the Lions' nerves, putting the 2023 BBL Cup Champions up by ten points (61-51). From there on out, London continued to stretch their hold on the game, from 16 points at the 04:30 mark to 20 points at the 03:31. This ballooned to 30 points by the end of the period.
Captain Shanice Beckford-Norton recorded the Lions’ 100th point when she drove to the bucket off the back of Leslie Vorpahl’s dime, which the country music-loving recent signing followed up with a steal on Charli Wroe. The game ended on a 12-9 back-and-forth foray of buckets, in favour of the Lions securing the victory and a their spot in the 2023 WBBL Trophy finals.
The bench mob received needed points, rebounding and assist production from Shequila Joseph and Chantel Charles. Joseph just missed out on a double-double clocking in a 10-point and 7-rebound performance, and Charles contributed seven rebounds and five assists to go with her three points.
Azania Stewart had a perfect night of shooting, going three for three from the floor and connecting on her free-throw line attempts en route to eight points. She complimented this with three rebounds and two assists.