Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters jumped out to a strong start as they retained their WBBL Trophy title with a 79-45 win over Barking Abbey Crusaders at the Barclaycard Arena.
Helen Naylor had the hot hand in the opening quarter, scoring 11 of her game-high 21 points to earn MVP honours with the Hatters lifting their fourth straight piece of silverware in the WBBL.
Sheffield were in no mood to relinquish their title as they came out flying to race into a 15-0 lead with Naylor scoring seven points during the run.
It took the Crusaders until past the midpoint in the opening period to register their first points as Abiola Wabara scored four points in an 8-1 response.
Naylor ended the quarter with the final four points to take her personal tally into double figures with the Hatters already up by 12. Five points in quick succession from Teresa Da Silva spurred hope of a revival, but the holders went on a 15-2 run to build a commanding lead.
Triples from Naylor and Sabra Wrice in the same corner spot further stretched the advantage, before Sheffield captialised on Barking being in the penalty as the lead reached 23 points at the half.
Barking continued their fight when play resumed, but still found baskets hard to come by with Sheffield maintaining their strong defensive grip on the game. Despite a more competitive third period, the Hatters used an 8-1 close to further increase their lead.
It was more of the same in the final period with Sheffield’s stifling defence holding their opponents to just five points over the opening eight minutes of the fourth as they finished with a convincing 34-point victory.
Baendu Lowenthal produced an efficient double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win, while 2012 Olympian Julie Page showcased her big-game temperament with 11 points along with eight boards from the bench.
For the Crusaders, Wabara led the resistance with a stat-line of 12 points, nine rebounds as well as three assists and three blocks. Savannah Wilkinson and Abigail Lowe both hit 10.