Leicester Riders booked their place in the WBBL Play-Off Final after an impressive 69-50 victory over Caledonia Gladiators in the Semi-Final. Oliana Squires was the standout player for the Riders, scoring a game-high 25 points, while Téa Adams led the way for Caledonia with 20 points.
The first quarter saw both teams come out of the gates with high energy and intensity, as expected in playoff basketball. It was a closely contested battle as the two teams traded baskets back and forth, with neither team able to establish a significant lead. However, Leicester Riders managed to get the better of Gladiators to start, finishing the quarter with a 19-14 lead.
In the second quarter, Leicester Riders managed to expand their lead slightly, thanks in part to the standout play of Oliana Squires who led the team from the guard spot throughout the game. Despite the best efforts of Tea Adams who scored 20 points for Caledonia Gladiators, Leicester Riders maintained their lead, going into halftime with a score of 34-28.
Coming out of the locker rooms, Leicester Riders began to pull away from Caledonia. The team displayed solid team basketball, with several players contributing to the scoreline. On the other hand, Gladiators struggled to make shots, and their defense was unable to stop Riders’ scoring runs. By the end of the quarter, Riders had managed to extend their lead to 50-36.
The final quarter saw more of the same from the third, as Leicester Riders continued to dominate on both ends of the court. Gladiators, meanwhile, were unable to get their offense going, and were outscored once again. The game ended with Leicester Riders emerging as the clear victors, with a final score of 69-50.
Although the result was disappointing for Caledonia Gladiators, it was an emotional night for the team and their fans, as it was their last game ever at the Emirates Arena following the heart aching departure of the BBL side from the playoffs, too, last weekend. The arena has been home to Gladiators and the Rocks sides since 2012, and has seen many memorable moments and great games over the years. The franchise will be moving to Playsport, East Kilbride, next campaign, and will be hoping to make many more great memories in their new home.