WBBL: Oaklands Wolves improving even if Leicester Riders win big
- Credit: Archant
Oaklands Wolves continue to show they can be a force in the Women’s British Basketball League despite an 87-66 defeat to Leicetser Riders.
Head coach Lee Ryan had said Leicester "are expected to lift all the silverware" this season when the two teams met in WBBL Trophy action in September.
He probably hasn't changed his mind although if he has any concerns if will be at the way the third quarter got away from them in a hurry, as both shooting and defence struggled.
He will, however, be delighted with the improvement his young side have made since that day two months earlier at Essex Sports Arena when they lost 90-58.
The Riders came into the game sitting third in the WBBL, on the coat-tails of leading pair Sevenoaks and Nottingham.
But Wolves' two wins from their opening four games placed them sixth and well in contention at this early stage of the year for a play-off place.
An 11-2 run midway through the first quarter had closed them to within one point after Leicester had started with a bang.
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The visitors to Oaklands College then stretched the lead back out slightly by the end of the first quarter but from then nobody could take full control.
Riders had crafted a nine-point lead going into the final two minutes of the half but a three-pointer from Lizzy Harrison and a two-point lay-up by Lauren Milligan meant Wolves won the quarter and had the gap down to just four.
The third quarter had threatened to get away from them, with the shooting radar temporary blinded and coach Ryan screaming for more on defence, and Leicester soon had a 15-point advantage.
Again there was a late rally though, and a three-point jump shot right at the death by Claire Abbott brought the Wolves' support to their feet.
They were noisy too in the fourth, especially after another three from Elyse Kiploks had reduced the gap to seven with just over five minutes to go.
It was as close as they got though and Leicester finished on an 8-0 run to secure the points.
Anneke Schlueter continued her good form with a top score of 22 for the Wolves with 10 coming from Abbott
Skipper Kate Oliver was the main scorer for the Riders with 25 while Sara Hinriksdottir wasn't far behind with 20.
Q1: Oaklands Wolves 23 Leicester Riders 28
Q2: Oaklands Wolves 37 Leicester Riders 41
Q3: Oaklands Wolves 50 Leicester Riders 61
Q4: Oaklands Wolves 66 Leicester Riders 87