Team Northumbria defeated Nottingham Wildcats 75-68 as they claimed the final piece of silverware this season in the Molten WBBL Play-Off Final, at The O2 Arena.
The North-East side never led until the final quarter and put together a strong finish to prevent the Wildcats from adding to their WBBL Championship league title.
Abigail Asoro was named the MVP after finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds as well as six steals, while Fiona O’Dwyer played her part with 17 points along with 11 boards.
The Wildcats had made a strong start with a 10-4 opening as Melissa Diawarana scored the first 3-pointer of the game. Northumbria closed to within a single point, but five quick-fire points from Siobhan Prior helped her side claim an 18-14 advantage at the end of the first.
Nottingham used a 12-2 run to open up the biggest lead of the game at 38-25 in the second, but once again, Chris Bunten’s side hit back and were able to increasingly get to the free throw line with a 10-0 reply to go into half-time down by five.
Northumbria continued their momentum at the start of the third to cut the gap back down to a single point as both defences stepped up their intensity. Ashley Harris and Chloe Bully traded triples late in the period to set up an exciting final quarter.
Harris and Amber Stokes, who combined for 41 points, helped to push the Wildcats out to a 55-49 lead early in the fourth as they threatened to pull away for good. However, Northumbria responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the game on the back of a three from Asoro.
The league runners-up led by as many as four before the Wildcats tied the game at 61-61 heading into the final two minutes as both teams came up with big-time plays down the stretch.
In the end it was Northumbria who were able to edge ahead from the free throw line with Fiona O’Dwyer going 2-of-2 to make it 69-66. The heart and desire was evident in the concluding possessions and Northumbria prevailed – closing out a seven-point win before lifting their first WBBL title.
Nottingham Wildcats 68 (18,40,50) (Stokes 21, Harris 20, Prior 15)
Team Northumbria 75 (14,35,49) (O’Dwyer 17, Asoro 16, Voynova/Fong Lyew Quee 14)