Helen Naylor is the star as Sheffield Hatters reach inaugural WBBL Trophy Final with Leicester victory

Helen Naylor
Helen Naylor
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Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters booked their place in next month’s inaugural WBBL Trophy Final with an 87-77 victory at Leicester Riders yesterday.

Vanessa Ellis’ side recovered from a strong start by the hosts to take the lead before half-time and eventually coast to semi-final success behind some efficient offence.

Helen Naylor, who scored 29 points last time the teams met, once again enjoyed a fine performance against Matthew Harber’s side, finishing with 18 and seven rebounds.

But Steph Gandy paced the visitors with 21 as Lauren Thomas Johnson also scored 19.

Hatters did a fine job of looking after the ball and created good opportunities while Riders relied heavily on 25 points from Maaja Brakta although Georgia Jones did add 18.

The hosts had jumped out to a 13-4 lead inside three minutes but Hatters turned the screw to assume control in the second, taking the lead before half-time and never looking back.

The result stretched Hatters’ winning streak to eight games.

But more importantly, it secured their place in the final, against league leaders Nottingham Wildcats, at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Sunday, January 11.