LSBU Lady Topcats 65-28 Bristol Storm
Top Scorers: Lwazi 15, Bilson-Graham 13, Hilton & James 10 [Game Stats]
The Lady Topcats put in a great team performance to lead the whole game against Bristol Storm advancing to the National Trophy Final.
The visiting Storm started in a zone which left both Ishara Bilson-Graham and Sevian Witter wide open to knock down back to back three’s off well worked ball movement by the Topcats. Bristol also found some open looks early for themselves resulting in some trading of baskets. Another well worked open three pointer, this time from captain Rachel James and a nice offensive spark from new signing Taylor Hilton again opened up the Storm’s zone defence resulting in the Lady Topcats taking a 16-7 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter was ignited by Fatumah Lwazi who tallied up a quick 5 points of her own to extend the lead to 21-9. This was followed by more hot shooting behind the arc again from James and Bilson-Graham, with the latter hitting back to back shots off some well worked offence. Hilton was also finding gaps in the zone to score inside to extend the lead even further to 20 points taking the home team into the first half with a well deserved 35-15 lead.
Defense is what the Lady Topcats pride themselves on which continued with more pressure and tempo shutting down Bristol Storm to just 5 points in the third quarter behind James’ and Rochelle Davids tenacious ball pressure. Again Lwazi had the hot hand knocking down a three of her own as well as getting to the basket extending the lead in favour of the Topcats 52-20 to close out the quarter. The final stanza saw much of the same with the Topcats continuing to pile on the defensive pressure as well as working the ball well on offence against the Storm’s zone. Moji Odusanya proved a great spark in the fourth helping to close out the game along with Vanessa Da Silva and Hilton at both ends of the floor.
The Lady Topcats came out on top 65-28 booking a well deserved place in the final. Captain, Rachel James paid tribute to the team on how hard they have worked this season and what is means to get to the final:
“Going into the game we didn’t want that feeling of missing out on the finals, so we knew that we had to leave it all out on the floor. The coach based this game on two things: Trust and Commitment. We continued to trust our system and style of play with each others decisions. We took one play at a time and commited ourselves to every loose ball, every rebound and every opportunity to put pressure on Bristol. Every player had input into this win and it feels great to be in the final.”
Head Coach Steve Vear echoed James’ words, and paid tribute to his deep squad:
“The team put in a great performance, especially on defence. The luxury to be able to play all twelve players similar minutes in a semi final just shows how deep this team is. We all know that making the final is just part of the journey. We will prepare as we have all season, taking care of one game at a time. We won’t worry about this game until it approaches. Our next focus is Westside on the weekend.”
The Lady Topcats will face Leeds Carnegie in the National Trophy Final taking place on Saturday 22nd February with the venue yet to be decided. The club will be organising a coach to take fans up to the game so please await further updates on this.