Manchester Mystics 58 (18,30,44) (Lucas 15, Welling 13, Page 11)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 72 (17,44,60) (Gandy 28, Naylor 16, Reese 14)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters secured a comfortable 58-72 road win at Manchester Mystics ahead of their WBBL Championship title decider against Nottingham Wildcats next week. The Hatters have now recorded 14 straight league wins, dating back to October; but for the Mystics it was a seventh defeat in eight games, and they have won only once at home in four months.
The league’s leading scorer, Stephanie Gandy, posted a massive total of 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Hatters for the fourth straight game as she chases an end-of-season personal accolade in both categories.
But the early exchanges suggested that Hatters wouldn’t have it all their own way, as the Mystics hit the first four points and soon led 11-5. Estella Royo Torres then scored five points in a 9-0 response for the Hatters, but they still found themselves trailing 18-17 after the opening ten minutes as Manchester produced a 7-2 run of their own, five for Jamie Curtis.
But that was as good as it would get for the hosts, after Sheffield opened the second stanza with the first five points sparked by Georgia Gayle’s triple. The run that broke the game open came soon after, as Hatters went 13-2 over a four minute spell, Skye Reese scoring seven of those, and by half time Hatters led 30-44.
And the second half was comfortable for the visitors, with the lead peaking at 41-60 on Helen Naylor’s three-pointer. Regardless of the defeat, Mystics are guaranteed their post-season berth as Brixton Topcats lost.