Match Report: Lions Women vs Leicester Riders

Lions women blitz Riders in final period

Winterburn leads the way against her former club.

London Lions women had the perfect warm-up for their Euro Cup campaign with an 85-53 victory against Leicester Riders, on Sunday.

The Copper Box crowd were treated to a thrilling fourth period as Mark Clark’s team outscored their title rivals 28-5 for their second WBBL victory in as many games.

Clark was understandably delighted with the win: “Apart from a little lapse in the third period we played consistently well” he said. “Riders were competitive for the first three period and made some tough shots but our depth wore them down in the end. To beat a top four side by that kind of margin is very pleasing, especially as Jo [Leedham] is still finding her way and Kennedy [Leonard] didn’t have her best game.

“I was really pleased for Holly [Winterburn] as it’s always difficult the first time you play against your former club, but she had another excellent performance. Steph Umeh looked more like she did last season and it was pleasing to get the who roster some valuable minutes.”

Winterburn was in fine form against her old club, leading the Lions’ scoring with 21 points, six assists and five steals while Cassie Breen added 14 points. A poor shooting afternoon didn’t stop Leonard finishing with a ten point, 13 assist double-double, and Shanice Becford-Norton added six boards and four assists to her 11 points.

Azania Stewart opened the scoring and Winterburn doubled the lead as Lions edged the first period with Breen hitting a trey to give her team a 22-16 lead.

Breen dropped another triple to open the second period and they remained in control as a trey from Chantelle Charles gave them a 37-24 lead at the five minute mark. Winterburn also scored from downtown before Paige Robinson wrapped the first half scoring to send London into the half-time break leading 44-33.

Winterburn’s trey capped a 7-0 start to the second half for the hosts only to see Riders reply with a 15-2 run before Winterburn scored from outside the arc to give Lions a 57-48 lead at the final break.

Breen continued the three-point onslaught early in the fourth period, but it was Beckford-Norton’s pair of free-throws that launched the 12-0 run that effectively sealed the win, with Leonard scoring from the Land of Plenty to cap the tear. There was no way back for Riders after that as Leonard completed the rout at the foul line