Hatters storm into Trophy semi-finals

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Manchester Mystics 70, Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 84

Jen Ashton and Gianna Woods have led Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters into the WBBL Trophy semi-finals, as they seek to win back the silverware they last held in 2016.

Hatters won their their pool with a comprehensive road victory at Manchester Mystics.

Hatters, winners of this competition in 2015 and 2016, had legendary coach Betty Codona back in temporary charge, and have now beaten Mystics in 11 of their 12 WBBL meetings.

Hatters edged the opening quarter, but opened the second stanza with a 12-2 surge to lead 32-19 as Gianna Woods scored five points and Lauren Gregory came from the bench to do the same.

They allowed their hosts just one basket in seven minutes in that spell, and settled the game with a 13-5 opening to the third as Woods notched her double-double just seconds into the second half.

Hatters turned up the defence in the key spells, and as they took their first half lead there was a stage where nearly half of their points had come from turnovers: 16 of their first 36 points came from the 11 turnovers they forced in the opening 17 minutes.

By the end, they had 24 points from 17 turnovers.

Heroes were Ashton and Woods. Jen Ashton led the scoring with 19 points, shooting 70% and adding 10 assists for a double-double.

She also had five steals as she set the tone in the intense defensive performance.

The point guard’s great performance saw her retain her place in the WBBL All Star 5.

In support, Gianna Woods had a big double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds.

Leading scorers: Ashton 19, Naylor 13, Woods 13.

Semi-Final draw:Leicester Riders v Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters; Sevenoaks Suns v Caledonia Pride.