Glory day for Sheffield Hatters as Naylor leads way to Trophy triumph

Hatters Trophy final star Helen Naylor
Hatters Trophy final star Helen Naylor
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Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters retained the WBBL Trophy with an emphatic 79-45 win over Barking Abbey Crusaders at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena.

Hatters never looked back after a strong start and claimed their fourth piece of WBBL silverware.

Helen Naylor had the hot hand in the opening quarter, scoring 11 of her game-high 21 points to earn MVP honour.

Sheffield were in no mood to relinquish their title as they came out flying to race into a 15-0 lead with Naylor scoring seven points during the run.

It took the Crusaders until past the midpoint in the opening period to register their first points as Abiola Wabara scored four in an 8-1 response.

Naylor ended the quarter with the final four points to take her personal tally into double figures with the Hatters already up by 12. Five points in quick succession from Teresa Da Silva spurred hope of a revival, but the holders went on a 15-2 run to build a commanding lead.

Triples from Naylor and Sabra Wrice in the same corner spot further stretched the advantage, before Sheffield captialised on Barking being in the penalty as the lead reached 23 points at the half.

Barking continued their fight when play resumed, but still found baskets hard to come by with Sheffield maintaining their strong defensive grip on the game. Despite a more competitive third period, the Hatters used an 8-1 close to further increase their lead.

It was more of the same in the final period with Sheffield’s stifling defence holding their opponents to just five points over the opening eight minutes of the fourth as they finished with a convincing 34-point victory.

Baendu Lowenthal produced an efficient double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win, while 2012 Olympian Julie Page showcased her big-game temperament with 11 points along with eight boards from the bench.

Hatters 79 (23,45,62) (Naylor 21, Lowenthal 13, Page 11).

Barking 45 (11,22,36) (Wabara 12, Wilkinson/Lowe 10).