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Leiciester v Hatters – WBBL (Cup)

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Leicester Riders 90-74 Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters (22-20, 44-38, 69-54)

Leicester Riders have progressed to the WBBL Cup semi-finals after beating Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 90-74, led by the trio of Alex Smith, Kate Oliver and Dee Hayward.

After losing the first seven WBBL meetings between the sides, this is the second time in a row that Riders have overcome Hatters, scoring more than ninety points on both occasions. Leicester now have three wins in a row in all competitions, while Sheffield have suffered back-to-back defeats.

Leading scorers – Smith 23, Hayward 18, Oliver 16 (Riders); Naylor 22, Woods 15, Gandy 14 (Hatters)

Turning point – Riders edged in front at the end of the first quarter on a Holly Winterburn buzzer-beating three-pointer, and then posted an 11-2 run as that momentum carried into the second with Winterburn adding seven more. The lead reached 42-30 on Dee Hayward and Rebecca Navarro triples, and Hatters were kept at arm’s length thereafter.

Key stat – Riders shot 10/24 (41%) three-pointers in the game, and were 7/15 (46%) in building their strong first half lead.

Game hero(es) – Kate Oliver posted a huge double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, and shot 100% in the first half as Riders got in front. The scoring was led by Alex Smith’s 23 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while Dee Hayward added 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists – those three combined for two thirds of their team’s points.

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