Basketball: Focus returns to the league for Hatters

Vanessa Ellis urges her Sheffield Hatters team on at the Betty Codona Classic in Nottingham.
Vanessa Ellis urges her Sheffield Hatters team on at the Betty Codona Classic in Nottingham.
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Sheffield Hatters return to league action tomorrow top of the table but still aiming to shake off the inconsistency that has bothered them all season.

Barking Abbey will visit All Saints for a 2pm tip-off in National League Division One with the second part of a double-header weekend completed at Manchester Mystics on Sunday afternoon (3pm).

Barking should pose little threat if the Hatters hit their best form.

The visitors are currently second bottom in the league with just two victories from their ten matches this season.

However, they did make Sheffield work for their win when the teams met on November 9 in Barking.

The Hatters came out on top 75-62 with Helen Naylor’s 21 points leading the scoring.

Manchester are just one place above Barking in the table and were comfortably beaten 89-45 when they visited All Saints on November 2.

Hatters also beat the Mystics in the quarter-finals of the inaugural Betty Codona Classic in Nottingham last weekend but missed out on picking up the trophy after being knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champions Nottingham Wildcats.

The tournament was named after Hatters’ former coach Betty Codona but even that inspiration couldn’t prevent Wildcats winning 78-72.

Steph Gandy led the Hatters scoring with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Sheffield had been in the match until the third quarter when the Wildcats outscored Vanessa Ellis’ team 22-14.

Hatters fought back in final quarter but couldn’t prevent Nottingham sealing their place in the final.

Hatters beat Manchester last Friday night with Helen Naylor’s 21 points helping her team to a 88-49 victory.

Naylor also had four rebounds and four assists with Kisha Lee’s 20 points and 13 rebounds off the bench being an excellent contribution.

Ellis had spoken before the tournament about Hatters inconsistent form during the opening part of the season and with two games this weekend she’ll be hoping her team shake off the Wildcats loss.pick up.

Nottingham enjoyed their home advantage in the Betty Codona Classic.

They beat East Midlands rivals Loughborough 69-43 in the final.