In a crucial WBBL Championship fixture for both sides, Caledonia Gladiators travelled south to Sheffield to do battle with the Hatters.
Sheffield’s WBBL franchise sat in fourth place heading into the fixture, with Miguel Ortega’s Gladiators seeing themselves one spot above, in third, having played one less game than tonight’s hosts.
After Jamila Thompson winning tip, player/coach Chantelle Handy got the game started at All Saints Sports Centre with a layup, with Hatters’ Fairley eventually opened the scoring for the hosts, putting the game to 6-2 in favour of the Gladiators with a few minutes played. For the remainder of the first ten minutes, both sides traded baskets, proving how competitive of a game was set out for the sides. The visitors however gained a slim four point lead at the end of the quarter, 19-15.
The second of four quarters told much of the same story as the first, but was a lot lower scoring in the opening five minutes of it thanks to solid defense and several turnovers from both squads. Heading into the half, Gladiators maintained the same margin of four points, 32-36.
With all to play for in the next half, both sides continued to battle and trade buckets, a theme that had remained throughout the first half. The hosts, backed by their home crowd and bench, neared their largest lead of the game so far. After thirty minutes of high intensity basketball, Vanessa Ellis’ side led by six points, which was limited to that thanks to Caledonia’s two free throws scored by Téa Adams in the dying seconds of the quarter. 51-45 was the score with ten to play.
Hatters expanded their lead in the early parts of the fourth quarter, taking the game to the Gladiators and pushing them as far as possible. They expanded on their lead through accurate shooting, well-played possessions, and solid defense, leading by as much as 26 with a few minutes to play. Upon the final buzzer, the hosts took a convincing 76-52 victory.
Next up, Caledonia welcome Sheffield again on Sunday at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre. Get your tickets HERE!