Sheffield Hatters qualify for semi-finals in bid for third successive Women’s British Basketball Trophy final

Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters first team after  officiating at the monthly Central Venue League staged at All Saints Sports Centre. The league provides an introduction to basketball competition for 6-12 year olds.  Hatters are pictured with two of the junior team which attended  - Sheffield Sharks and Rotherham Hawks.
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters first team after officiating at the monthly Central Venue League staged at All Saints Sports Centre. The league provides an introduction to basketball competition for 6-12 year olds. Hatters are pictured with two of the junior team which attended - Sheffield Sharks and Rotherham Hawks.
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Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters will progress to the WBBL Trophy semi-finals, in their pursuit of a third straight Trophy crown, after over-powering Manchester Mystics by 74-60.

Hatters are unbeaten at home against Mystics in five WBBL meetings over three years, and they never looked like letting that record slip.

It was Hatters’ third win in the North Group having also beaten Nottingham Wildcats and Caledonia Pride.

And there’s no stopping club legend Steph Gandy, who punished Mystics with a fine 25 points from 11 of 17 floor shooting, as well as adding six boards and two steals to secure an eighth starting slot in the WBBL Top Five.

Brittany Winborne provided the early spark, registering eight first quarter points, while Gandy scored six in a run of seven unanswered; and the hosts had a double-digit lead early in the second stanza when Gandy hit five in a row to make the score 27-17.

Hatters held their visitors to just nine second quarter points, to lead 40-24 at the half, with Mystics shooting just 22% as 10 of Sheffield’s points had come from the nine turnovers that their stifling defence had forced.

After the break, Gandy added another six in a 9-2 burst sparked by Helen Naylor’s triple, seeing the score reach its peak at 56-38.

Mystics, defending a perfect away record this season and previously joint-top of the Trophy group with Hatters, had one last salvo when Rheanne Bailey scored the final six points of the third quarter.

And they were back within single figures in the fourth when Dominque Allen made it 60-51 with six minutes to play.

But Georgia Gayle - who finished with 20 points - halted that run, and Hatters kept their visitors at arm’s length for the remainder.

Hatters 74 (22,40,56) (Gandy 25, Gayle 20, Winborne 10)

Mystics 60 (15,24,44) (Jones 22, Bailey 11, Browne 9)

Hatters are at Team Northumbria on Sunday in their fourth group game (4pm).