Sheffield Hatters show their steel to top WBBL in wake of Betty Codona’s passing

Sheffield Hatters demonstrated their strength of character in the wake of founder and former head coach Betty Codona’s passing by producing back-to-back wins to top the WBBL.

Sunday, 20th March 2022, 7:33 pm

The death of the legendary women’s basketball pioneer was confirmed by the club on Friday, just 24 hours before a double-header against Essex Rebels and Gloucester City Queens.

Codona, who started the Hatters in 1961, was mother to current play-caller Vanessa Ellis and grandmother to guard Georgia Gayle and assistant coach Tyler Gayle.

Great Britain star Georgia top-scored against Essex with 18 points as the Hatters earned an 89-74 win.

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On Sunday, they thrashed Gloucester by 109 points to 56 to make it four straight wins and move top of the WBBL standings with a 15-3 record for the season.

Helen Naylor was the star of the show with 25 points, while Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee and Ebony Horton added 18 points and 17 points respectively.

A club statement from Sheffield Hatters – the UK's first and most successful women's basketball club – described Codona as ‘the queen of the sport.’

Betty’s family said in a statement: “She was determined, relentless, intelligent and most of all passionate. Betty’s ethos will live on through every female who has represented the Hatters. Everyone here within the Hatters is deeply saddened but we stand united to carry on Betty’s values and beliefs as we respect the past and we will forge the future."

Betty Codona, who founded Sheffield Hatters, has passed away.

Sheffield Sharks return to action on Friday following a two-week break when they host Newcastle Eagles.

The Sharks are currently third in the BBL table with nine games remaining in the regular season.