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Hatters v Nottingham Wildcats – WBBL

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Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 74 (22,47,59) (Gandy 20, Naylor 17, Torres 14)
Nottingham Wildcats 64 (23,44,56) (Kassongo 18, Prior 17, Reynolds 11)

Just like the whole inaugural WBBL Championship season so far, the title-deciding clash came down to the wire, as Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters edged out the visiting Nottingham Wildcats 74-64 to claim the regular season crown at All Saints High School on Saturday afternoon.

In a rematch of the WBBL Trophy Final, Hatters picked up more silverware before the start of WBBL Play-Offs in two weeks, finishing the regular season on a 15-game winning streak for a league-best 17-1 record.

It was a nip-and-tuck affair right from the get-go, with the visitors taking a one-point edge at the end of the opening period at 23-22. However, Hatters managed to slide in front in time for the halftime break, taking a 47-44 lead into the interval.

With Chantelle Pressley limited by foul trouble, Nottingham’s forward Annie Kassongo picked up the slack with 16 points at the break. Meanwhile, Steph Gandy’s 16 points were leading the way for Hatters.

The pace of the game changed dramatically in the second half, as both teams found it difficult to score. Hatters could not capitalise on multiple 24-shot violations by the guests, as the same three-point margin separated the sides heading into the final frame.

The fourth quarter belonged to the hosts, with the Sheffield side allowing Wildcats to score only eight points in the fourth quarter and a total of 16 in the second half to break away for good and claim the title in front of the home fans.

Steph Gandy led all scorers with 20 points and seven rebounds, Helen Naylor collected 17 points, while Royo Torres added 14 points and five boards for Hatters.

Meanwhile, Annie Kassongo collected only two points in the second half for a Wildcats’ team-high total of 18, while Siobhan Prior chipped in with 17 in a losing effort.

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