Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters head coach Vanessa Ellis insists her side are only just getting started after making history as the first ever winners of the Women’s Basketball League Trophy.
The Hatters squared up against league table toppers Nottingham Wildcats at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena yesterday looking to add to the club’s silverware collection.
It proved to be an even start with the scores tied at 13-13 before the Hatters stepped it up in the second to lead 36-25 at half-time.
That lead was extended to 17 after the third quarter as the Hatters, who beat their opponents just last weekend in the Betty Codona Classic tournament, started to apply the pressure.
And while the Wildcats refused to give up, it was Sheffield who came out on top 76-62 – although Ellis was not going to let success go to their heads.
“We will go and celebrate and really enjoy our victory, we’ve put a lot of time and effort in as a team and individuals and it’s nice to get rewarded, not everybody does,” she said.
“But as a coach we’ve still got areas to improve. We’ve had injuries and last weekend was the first time we had all 12 players playing, so for us, it’s like the start of a season.
“Credit to the players, it was much better and we are showing improvement each week.
“Playing against good teams you get punished and Nottingham almost did that to us. The game isn’t over until the very end. So we’ve got to make sure we’re disciplined.”
There was further success with Hatters and Great Britain forward Stephanie Gandy named the most valuable player after contributing 25 points, while the result also sets the team up for the rest of the WBBL Championship season.
They currently sit second behind Wildcats and Ellis was predicting another tight battle.
“Obviously it gives us a mental edge for the rest of the season but we won’t take anything for granted,” she added.
“We expect them to bring players in so they will be tougher next time we meet them but so will we. We never ever rest, we keep working and training hard.”
Nottingham Wildcats 62 (13, 25, 42) (Reynolds 30, Pressley 15, Ferreira 8)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 76 (13, 36, 59) (Gandy 25, Naylor 20, Thomas Johnson 8).
n The WBBL Trophy Final was the first showpiece event for the recently launched WBBL. The next will be the WBBL play-off final at the University of Worcester Arena on Sunday 26 April with tickets available via http://wbbl.org.uk/tickets/playofffinal/