Hatters star Baendu Lowenthal relishing her first WBBL Trophy final.

Baendu Lowenthal joined Hatters in the close season. Photo: Ian Anderson
Baendu Lowenthal joined Hatters in the close season. Photo: Ian Anderson

New Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters star Baendu Lowenthal is relishing her first Womens British Basketball League Trophy final with the club.

The Molten WBBL Player of the Month for December from Riverside, New Jersey, will line up for the country’s top women’s basketball team as they defend the trophy they won in its inaugural year against Barking Abbey Crusdaders at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Sunday, January 17.

Lowenthal, top scorer in the epic 83-79 semi-final win over Nottingham Wildcats in a repeat of the 2015 final, said: It will be my first time, so I will look forward to it all the more.”

A combined 43 points from Lowenthal and Helen Naylor underpinned the Hatters’ victory.

Lowenthal led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Helen Naylor added a valuable 19 points in the win - contributions which helped cancel out a 27-point haul from Wildcats’ Amber Stokes.

“It was a great game to play in and really physical - I also thought that we put on a great show for the fans,” said Lowenthal.

“Vanessa [Ellis] did a great job coaching us and we will really look forward to the final next month.

“Focus is all that we ever look for and we really needed it against a tough Wildcats team to make sure we got back to the final.”

GB Olympian Julie Page came up with an important play down the stretch, and Lowenthal praised the impact of her new team-mate.

“It is great working with such an experienced player like Julie Page under the basket,” declared the forward, who joined Hatters in the close season.

“We appreciate her coming back and playing for Hatters again as it makes a real difference.”

Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 83 (22,42,64) (Lowenthal 24,Naylor 19,Gandy 14)

Nottingham Wildcats 79 (23, 44,59) (Stokes 27,Vackova 14,Prior 13).

Barking reached the final with a shock win over WBBL leaders Team Northuimbrian, who suffered their first defeat of the season, 81-57 in the other semi-final.

GB forward Savannah Wilkinson was the star, collecting 16 rebounds to go with a game-high 26 points as the Crusaders avenged the previous week’s loss to Northumbria.

Barking Abbey Crusaders 81 (21,39,58) (Wilkinson 26, Brantlova/Wabara 19).

Team Northumbria 57 (8,23,42) (O’Dwyer 14, Fong Lyew Quee 11, Thomson 10).