Betty Codona WBBL Trophy Final Preview: Riders vs Lions

The Riders take on the London Lions in their second WBBL final of the season, battling for the Betty Codona Trophy. 

It would be the fourth time the Riders have lifted the Trophy, most recently in 2020. 

Season so far: Riders

The game is a first vs second clash, as the Riders currently sit a place from the top spot in the WBBL Championship. They possess a 12-2 record and are level on points with their final opponents. 

They’re an efficient outfit, ranking top four in field goal, free throw and three-point percentage, and dominate the defensive boards, ranking second in the league. 

Ashley Arlen leads the scoring for the team this season, putting up 16.1 points per game. The veteran forward’s eight rebounds a game leads the team also, as she leads the front line for Leicester. 

The Riders will look for a big game from Arlen in this one! 

Season so far: Lions 

The league-leading Lions hold a 12-1 record this season and enter this one on a three-game winning streak.

They’re the league’s top scorers, putting up 95.6 points per game, 12 points more than the second-highest scorers. But last month, the Caledonia Gladiators came up with a winning formula against the Lions with a 68-67 road win. 

It was the first domestic defeat for London in two seasons after the Riders beat them in April 2021. 

The Lions won the previous meeting between the sides in the WBBL Cup final, taking home the first piece of WBBL silverware of the season. 

Since then, London have seen a change of personnel in the head coaching role, with Greek international Stella Kaltsidou taking the helm. It remains a tough test for the Riders as they go for the trophy. 

Road to the final: Riders

The Riders fought through three games to reach the final, winning them by an average of 30 points.

They started their campaign against the Oakland Wolves, winning in a dominant 104-55 fashion. Oliana Squires led the game with 24 points in a game the Riders held the lead since early in the first quarter. 

The quarter-finals was a hard-fought 54-44 win against the Caledonia Gladiators. The Riders held a one-possession lead going into the final quarter, but a 7-0 run to start the fourth allowed them to jump out to a double-digit lead, which they held until the buzzer. 

They took a trip to the North East for the semi-final, as they booked a place in the final with a 91-63 win against the Newcastle Eagles. Kirsty Brown’s 18 topped the team’s scoring tallies, as Leicester went 15-16 from the free-throw line to dominate the Eagles. 

Road to the final: Lions

The Lions progressed through the Trophy’s three rounds thus far confidently, dismissing the Brent Bulls, the Cardiff Met Archers and the Sheffield Hatters

.Paulina Hersler’s 25 points led a first-round win against the Bulls, as the Lions took a 98-42 win. They forced 33 turnovers from their opponents with suffocating defence. 

The Lions then beat the Archers 104-55, led again by Hersler who scored 20. Hersler went 9-17 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots, dominating inside. 

Lions’ duo Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Holly Winterburn took over the semi-final with 26 points each, blowing out the Hatters 112-77. London went just 3-14 from three and still dominated the game, making 45 field goals. 

Where to watch

The game will be shown live on Sky Sports, and the Sky Sports Youtube channel. 

Tip-off is at 1 pm, with coverage starting at 12:30 pm.