‘We have to be at our best in final’, says Sheffield Hatters star Helen Naylor

Helen Naylor of Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters
Helen Naylor of Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters
Have your say

Helen Naylor helped the Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters extend their run of wins to six last weekend - and then roared: We can get even better yet.

The Hatters beat Barking Abbey Crusaders 92-66 in a dress rehearsal for this Sunday’s WBBL Trophy Final.

Coach Vanessa Ellis of Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters

Coach Vanessa Ellis of Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters

Star trio Steph Gandy, Helen Naylor and Baendu Lowenthal all scored 18 points apiece in the triumph - and Naylor believes the Hatters are yet to hit peak form.

“It was really important for us to get that first win of the new year and continued where we left off,” she said.

“It’s always tough first game back after the break, and although it was a good win in the end, we didn’t start the game well.

“We were rusty in the first half and not at the level we want to be - we picked it up in the second half and we need to ensure we are playing that way from the tip for 40 minutes. We have lots of things to improve on, specifically defensively, as we need to tighten up in areas.

“We certainly want to continue improving and continue our winning run.”

And, Naylor admits that the victory over Barking Abbey could give Sheffield a psychological advantage ahead of Sunday’s WBBL Trophy Final, although she is expecting a backlash from the Crusaders: “I think Saturday’s win]was definitely a confidence booster going into the final,” she admitted.

“To have that win against them and to see how they play helps, but we won’t be taken them lightly.

“Barking will no doubt, under good leadership from Mark Clark, re-group and adjust to give us a tough game.

“We need to make sure we start better, play better individual and team defence and make every score they get as tough as possible.”

A large crowd is expected at the Barclaycard Arena, and Naylor can’t wait to be a part of what promises to be an entertaining event.

“I’m very excited to play in the final this week,” she enthused.

“There’s nothing more exciting than playing in front of a huge crowd.

“I have complete confidence in our team and coaches and know that we will work hard this week to gain momentum going into Sunday.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting game for both players and fans - and the fact Sky are streaming it live is great.”

n The WBBL Trophy Final will tip-off at midday on Sunday and will be available FREE and WORLDWIDE at both www.skysports.com and www.webcastsport.com.

n See how Hatters fared in The Star’s Full Time sports supplement on Monday and don’t miss our Grass Roots report and picture special next Friday.