Caledonia Gladiators and Sheffield Hatters matched up for the second time in three days, this time at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley, for the return leg. The game set itself out as an important one in the push for the top half of the playoff seedings in the WBBL Championship.
In Friday’s game in Sheffield, the hosts on the night came out with a convincing victory, 76-52 in the end. On the night, Hatters’ star, Georgia Gayle picked up an injury and never travelled north of the border.
To open the game, Abbie Wolf won tip-off, before Robyn Lewis went on a 5-point run of her own with a layup and 3-pointer. It took a few minutes for Sheffield to come back into it, through a Karly Murphy layup. Across the first ten minutes, Gladiators remained fairly in control, with Hatters fighting hard hoping to pick up their second victory of the weekend. The hosts had a slim two point lead after the first, 13-11.
Heading into the second period, Miguel Ortega’s side stepped up, hoping to fight back and get revenge from Friday’s tough defeat. Solid fast break play and a few well-shot three pointers allowed for them to expand on their lead. By the half-time break, the Scots led 35-28, despite the visitors getting extremely close, even leading, during the second ten.
In the first half, captain Erin McGarrachan led the line for Gladiators with 11 points to her name, whilst for the travellers, Karly Murphy was on fire, with a 15-point, 12 rebound double-double.
The third quarter brought much of the same for Caledonia. High intensity offense and defense, alongside strong support from the home crowd and bench brought some much needed energy, especially after Friday’s game. After thirty, they had expanded their lead to a strong 55-36.
With ten to play, the game was the hosts’ to lose. They kept their heads, improved further, and maintained a respectable lead with high quality basketball throughout the final ten. Upon the final buzzer, the team had picked up a massively important W, winning by 13 points, 70-57.
Statistically, the Gladiators led on most fronts. They had almost half the turnovers of the visiting Sheffield side, and 22 points from turnovers proved crucial in the end.
Chantelle Handy was impressive once more, as she picked up the Exceed game MVP. Her 15 points, five rebounds and an assist were essential to the team’s victory. Also, captain Erin McGarrachan finished with a solid 16 points, 7 rebounds and two assists.
Next up, Miguel Ortega’s side welcome league favourites London Lions to Paisley this Wednesday, the team they defeated in the capital earlier this year. Get your tickets HERE!