Leicester Riders Women took victory over the Manchester Mystics to move to second in the WBBL Championship ahead of the BUCS and Trophy break.
The good times are rolling at Riders after they followed up qualification to a first major showpiece Final last weekend by pipping Manchester Mystics 81-78 in the league to move to second place in the WBBL Championship standings.
Leicester were always on the front foot after a good finish to the first-half and looked set to ease to a comfortable success when they continued their nice work after the re-start.
Mystics rallied and drew level at 55-55 but once again Riders pulled clear with the last eight points of the third quarter.
It was a similar story in the vital and absorbing last quarter as Riders went ten points ahead with less than five minutes to play, but the visitors wouldn’t lie down and set up a nerve-jangling conclusion as they got back to 79-78 with ten seconds remaining.
But, Scottish guard Deanne Hayward held her nerve and hit two free-throws to get Riders over the line as Mystic tried in vain to force overtime with a triple attempt.
In a game packed with Great Britain talent, it was another Scottish player in Erin McGarrachan who continued her good form of late to inspire Riders to the win as she fired 19 points. American combo Alex Smith was also superb – just missing out on a fabulous triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“Really happy with that result against Manchester,” commented Head Coach Matthew Harber.
“We had to review the last two losses and we made some significant changes which really helped. We’re a completely different team to the last time we played them and I think that showed.
“So many players are able to contribute for us and that makes us dangerous. I’m confident we can maintain this momentum as we get closer to the Trophy Final!”
Riders will take a break for the BUCS weekend this week and will return to action on March 19th in Glasgow in the WBBL Trophy Final.