Cardiff Met Archers 47 (12,23,39) (Butters/Colgan 10, Wagstaff/Fritz 8)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 85 (21,40,64) (Lowenthal 22, Gandy 18, Naylor 16)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters began the defence of their WBBL Championship title in style with an 85-47 victory over Cardiff Met Archers on opening weekend in Loughborough.
Baendu Lowenthal had a stellar double-double on debut after putting up 23 points on 10-13 shooting from the floor and adding 19 boards including 13 off the offensive glass.
Reigning MVP Steph Gandy was one rebound shy of a double-double of her own after finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds while Helen Naylor added 16 points and eight rebounds.
There was also an all-round effort from England under-18 international Georgia Gayle, as she had six points, six rebounds, eight assists as well as three steals in 21 minutes from the bench.
The Hatters, led by the imposing Lowenthal in the paint, out-rebounded their opponents 63-28 in a dominant display with 30 on the offensive end, also benefiting from 22 second chance points.
Cardiff had led at 7-6 early on, but a 12-1 run put Sheffield in control and they never looked back with Sabra Wrice netting a triple to beat the first quarter buzzer.
The defending champions went on to power their way to victory, as they make it 16 league victories in a row.
Despite a spirited effort, player-coach Stef Collins’ Archers side drop their league opener with Kate Butters and Caiomhe Colgan – who had a positive impact from the bench – top scoring with 10 points apiece.