Brixton Topcats 76 (Nelson 22, Wade-Fray 21, Grant 8)
Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters 82 (Gayle 24, Naylor 15, Page 12, Wrice 12)
The ongoing improvement of Brixton Topcats was clear to see after they almost caused a serious upset at the Rec on Sunday afternoon by taking defending champions Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters down to the wire before eventually falling to an 82-76 loss.
Topcats had been behind 21-15 after the first ten minutes, but exploded with one of their best quarters of their entire season as they poured in 28 points during the second period and held Hatters to just 14 at the other end, which allowed them to head to the locker rooms in the box-seat.
Much of their best work came from teenage ace Kyla Nelson, who showed why she recently received her first Senior Great Britain call-up after sinking a team-high 22 points in the contest. But, Hatters eventually recovered and got the job done with a mesmerising final quarter when they racked up 29 points. Their experience was vital in crunch time, although it was their own teenage sensation in the shape of Georgia Gayle who stood out as she sunk a wonderful 24 points to lead Hatters to the win.
Head Coach Steve Vear was so proud of his team and reflected on a tough loss to take.
“I really feel that we lost this game and Sheffield didn’t win it. We had them on the ropes the whole game and were in the lead right until the last minute but made poor decisions at the end of the game. It’s a tough loss to take but you still have to credit Sheffield who kept coming at us and made crucial plays in the crunch time.”
He continued to emphasis the performance of his team who are continuously getting better.
“When you lose, you tend to forget the positives and want to look at what needs fixing. For me, this was our best performance of the season so far and showed we can compete with the best teams in this league when we perform. I tell my players all the time that it’s exciting for us in the WBBL as we have to be at our best every game to win which is the exact competitive environment you want to be in week in-week out.”
The Topcats will be off for a couple weeks where they will then face local rivals Barking Abbey away on Saturday 27th February with a 4pm tip off.