In a crucial WBBL Trophy Quarter-final matchup, the Caledonia Gladiators travelled to Loughborough to take on Krumesh Patel’s Leicester Riders.
Heading into the fixture, a reunion was in sight, with Robyn Lewis, new signing Jamila Thompson and captain Erin McGarrachan formerly playing with Riders/Loughborough, and Leicester’s Hannah Robb and Kirsty Brown matching up against a selection of fellow Scots.
Gladiators went into the game at full strength, going with a starting five of Robyn Lewis, Téa Adams, Chantelle Handy, Erin McGarrachan and Jamila Thompson.
After Gladiators winning the tip, Kirsty Brown picked up the opening points for the hosts, before Téa Adams matched the scoring with a layup. Throughout the first ten minutes, the two teams traded basket-for-basket. After the opening period, Gladiators maintained a slim two-point advantage, 10-12.
A big second quarter push was needed for both sides. Both teams further increased their intensity with a clear goal in mind. However, Riders were the ones to eventually advance, pushing on and taking a slim lead with a couple of minutes remaining through solid offensive and defensive play. After twenty, Riders kept a 27-21 lead.
Coach Ortega’s locker room chat must have worked out, as Gladiators immediately came out the blocks running, pushing back into the game. The Riders lead decreased to 3, heading into the final ten at 42-39.
Despite effort from both sides in the final minutes, it was Leicester who came out victorious, with the score 54-44 upon the sound of the final buzzer.
Following a 13 point, 2 rebound and 1 assist outing, Chantelle Handy was deservedly awarded the team MVP.
Next up, the Gladiators WBBL side take on Durham Palatinates at the Emirates Arena next Sunday, 26th February, in our double-header special. Get your tickets HERE!