London Lions continued their unbeaten start to the WBBL season with a dominant 97-53 victory at Leicester Riders, on Sunday.
Mark Clark's side outscored the hosts in each of the four periods, but it was a 51-21 burst across the middle two quarters that paved the way for an 11th straight league victory and a perfect warm-up for next Sunday's WBBL Cup final in Birmingham.
Clark was delighted with his side's performance as they returned to action following a fortnight without a game:
"I'm really pleased with how we played after such a long break" he said. "We were excellent on defence and made them match our pace offensively. Leicester are a good side but we made them struggle with everything. I'm impressed with how we managed to play at a high tempo after so long without a game. We play at a high pace but we're efficient with it and it makes teams try to match us. They tried to slow it down, but we did well to keep playing at that level."
Cassie Breen came off the bench to hit six three-pointers in 19 minutes as she finished with a game-high 21 points, adding four rebounds, while Jo Leedham had seven rebounds and four assists to go with her 20 points. Azania Stewart added 14 points and four boards while captain Shanice Beckford-Norton had seven assists and four rebounds to go with her 11 points. Robyn Ainge top scored for the hosts with 15 points but there was little Riders to could do to stop Lions as they never trailed.
Kennedy Leonard opened the scoring and four Leedham points helped Lions into an 8-2 lead, and although the hosts briefly tied the game at 16, four Beckford-Norton points helped the visitors close out the period on a 6-0 run to take a 22-16 advantage into the first break.
Ainge halved that lead with a triple of open the second period but a four-point play from Breen quickly put London back in charge and she followed that up with back-to-back triples as Lions opened a 32-19 lead with four minutes gone.
Chantelle Charles joined the trey-fest before Leedham converted an old fashioned three-point play, and Leonard also drained from downtown to send Lions into half-time with a comfortable 45-26 lead.
It continued to rain threes as Leedham hit a pair to open the second half, and although Ainge replied with one of her own, Leedham hit another as Lions effectively wrapped up the win midway through the third period with a 60-32 lead.
Charles and Stewart both hit a pair inside the paint before Leeham hit another from downtown, and Breen's jump shot gave the visitors a 73-37 lead at the final break.
Breen got the final period moving with a triple and Beckford-Norton hit seven straight points as Clark was able to give academy players Nicholle Lavinier and Grace Stickland some court time before Stewart wrapped up the win with a turnaround jump shot.