The top two sides from last year’s Women’s British Basketball League Championship, London Lions and Caledonia Gladiators will meet tomorrow in the new-look Women’s British Basketball League Trophy quarter-final, with both sides receiving a bye in the first round.
So far this campaign, in a similar fashion to last season, the Lions have started unbeaten, going 6-0 in Championship action under former Greece international, Stella Kaltsidou. Gladiators trail not too far behind, with an impressive 5-1 record seeing them in third place behind Sheffield Hatters who have played two more games than their counterparts.
Both the Lions and Gladiators have competed in European competition this year. The Lions, starting in the EuroLeague qualifiers, dropped down to the EuroCup group stages after being knocked out in the first round. Since then, they have also gone unbeaten, currently playing in the Round of 16 knockout stage – where they lead Gernika Bizkaia by seven points heading into the second leg. Gladiators, on the other hand, went directly into EuroCup Women – making their debut in the competition. A successful group stage saw the side go 3-1, giving them the 10th overall seed in the competition, before being knocked out by PEAC-Pecs over two legs in the Round of 32.
Lions look to defend their Trophy title from last year, with Gladiators the first obstacle in their way looking to cause an upset.
The two sides have gone from strength to strength in the summer, with the Lions bringing in a load of WNBA, EuroLeague and EuroCup-experienced talent to advance as far as possible, and potentially looking to win EuroCup Women. Gladiators have maintained a strong Scottish core, whilst adding in star power from across the world.
This will be the first time the sides meet this season, their last matchup saw the Lions pick up a huge win in Paisley on the final day of the regular season. However, the meeting prior would be one that Gladiators’ fans would remember for all the right reasons – as the side travelled to the capital and picked up a huge win over the star-studded Lions, bringing their 52-win record to an end.