If there was any doubt about which women’s basketball team rules, then Health365 Hatters laid them to rest as they completed a National trophy-winning double.
They may have lost their Women’s Division One title to Welsh pretenders UWIC Archers but they gained ample revenge yet again with an emphatic 93-72 victory in the Play Off Championship in Manchester.
It was their fourth win out of five between the two sides this season with UWIC’s lone success coming with a single point league victory in December.
Hatters stormed into a 17-4 lead midway through the first quarter and ended it with a 22-12 advantage. UWIC edged the second period but could only reduce the gap to eight points (41-33) at half time although they cut it to five in the opening minutes of the third session.
However Lisa Hutchinson’s side were in no mood to surrender their lead and they took control to go ahead 67-50 at the three-quarter mark.
The teams traded baskets for much of the final quarter with Hatters again enjoying the upper hand as they edged it 26-22 to claim the crown.
Stephanie Gandy top scored with 20 points and again received the MVP award while the Naylor sisters, Helen and Sarah, each netted 19.
Earlier, Hatters had sealed their place in the final with a 78-56 victory over Barking Abbey Leopards.
They held a narrow 20-16 advantage after the first quarter and this was reduced to one shortly after but from that point on Hatters dominated as they powered their way into a 42-25 lead at half time.
Barking came again in the third period and reduced the deficit to 12 before Helen Naylor’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer, helped Hatters to a 59-44 lead going into the final 10 minutes. Lisa and Co. increased the tempo and closed out the game in style to set up their showdown against Archers who had eased past Nottingham Wildcats 82-50.
Gandy again led the scoring lists with 26 points, followed by Sarah Naylor with 17 and Lauren Thomas Johnson with 12.