With Hatters currently on a 6-1 record and Leeds with a 5-2 record, the team were desperate for a positive result today. This would boost their chances of a strong playoff position.
Starting 5 for Hatters were Dooley, Axelby, Bennett, Goodwin and Silcock.
The team started off well, by scoring 5 uncontested points, until Force’s captain opened the scoring for the visitors. Hatters then rushed to a 17-4 lead with points from Axelby, Bennett and Silcock forcing Leeds into a time-out. With Coach Coronil Martinez’s words ringing in the ears of the Force players, they began attacking the basket, causing Hatters into early foul trouble, with Dooley and Axelby picking up their second fouls later on in the opening stanza. At the end of ten minutes, the score was 19-12 to the Hatters.
Hatters continued strongly throughout the second quarter. Lowry coming off the bench at the start of the second quarter, immediately drew the “and-1” play from Hood, and converted the bonus free throw. The home side also committed a few more fouls with Axelby and Quinn both on three fouls at the half time break with the score Hatters 36 Force 19.
First to break out the traps after half time were the Hatters with points from Goodwin and Axelby followed by a 3-pointer from Bennett. However, Hargreaves had the answer, replying with a 3-pointer of her own to kick-start the Leeds revival. Leeds outscored Hatters in the third quarter,leaving the score at the end of the period, Hatters 47 Force 34.
The fourth quarter started with neither team being able get on the scoresheet. Lowry opened the scoring after three minutes with a 3-pointer, continued shortly after with a successful “and-1” play. This followed with points from Bentall for the Force, which Lowry again replied to, with a 2-pointshot of her own making the score 55-38 to the home side. Hatters then went scoreless for around five minutes, whilst Leeds brought the Force and went on a 17-0 run, to tie the game at 55 with lessthan a minute to play. This lead Coach Campbell to call a time out and advance the ball. Followingthe time out, Bennett hits a huge 3-point shot, to make the Hatters go three points up, and allows Leeds to call their final time out of the game with 8.4 seconds left to go. Coach Coronil Martinez draws up the play during the time out, and leaves Hargreaves to shoot a deep three, in an attempt to tie the game, which misses. Williams then commits her fifth foul and sends Lowry to the free throw line, with 1.5 seconds left on the game clock. Lowry keeps her cool and knocks down both free throws ensuring the Hatters victory 60-55, much to the home fans delight.
Standout performances include came from Courtney Bennett (22 points, including 2 three-pointers),
and Jo Lowry (15 points).
Courtney Bennett – 22 points
Jo Lowry – 15 points
Eleanor Goodwin – 7 points
Millie Dooley & Molly Axelby – 6 points
Zoe Silcock and JD Quinn – 2 points