Preview: Riders at Archers

Leicester plays their third game of the season and their second straight on the road, as they head to South Wales to take on the Cardiff Met Archers. 

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Cardiff Met Archers

Archers Arena, Cyncoed Campus

Saturday, November 18, 3:15 pm

Riders rolling to start the year

The Riders resume their season after a two-week international break, following a perfect start to their Women’s British Basketball League season. 

They’re 2-0 through their opening games after wins against the Manchester Giants on opening night and an away victory against the Oaklands Wolves. 

Both wins came in a similar fashion, with Head Coach Ben Stanley’s halftime adjustments leading to third-quarter explosions, seeing Leicester blow out their first two opponents by over 20 points.  

Led by Rayven Peeples’ 6.5 offensive rebounds per game, the Riders’ presence on the glass opens up multiple second opportunities for the team, who are knocking down shots at a 45.5% rate.

Taylor O’Brien tops the scoring charts through two games with 18.5 a game, good for top five in the League. Should the Riders continue their scoring form following the break, they’ll be in good stead to improve to 3-0. 

Cardiff searching for opening win

Cardiff endured an up-and-down season last year, finishing with a 9-13 record to end the season seventh in the standings. 

The team’s leading scorer, Shannon Hatch, departed in the summer, opening the door for a new face to lead the club forward. 

Early on, it’s been American rookie Haylee Saurette leading the way with 15.5 points per game. 

In 2022-23, Saurette led Point Loma in scoring and rebounding, marking the third-straight season she averaged double-digit scoring and over seven rebounds per game during her collegiate career. 

Despite her efforts, the Archers started out 0-2 after facing the same two opponents as the Riders to begin the season. Managing only 55.5, they’ll have to find ways of upping their production to keep up with Leicester’s high-powered offence in this one. 

Key matchup

Off the back of her first international appearances for Great Britain, Sam Ashby returns to the squad in good form. 

Ashby impressed on her first outing and was entrusted with 20 minutes against Estonia on the road in the second of the two games. She went perfect from the field, hitting a three and making all four of her free throw attempts to put up eight points, eight rebounds and a steal on the game. 

For the Riders, she’s putting up 14 points from 21 minutes per outing, shooting 52.4% from the field and 42.9% from three. Last time out against the Wolves, the Australian-born guard went off for 18 points and six rebounds, making an impact on the glass. 

Facing up against Ashby in the backcourt will be Former Hawai‘i Hilo star guard Mandi Kawaha. Kawaha became the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo all-time leading scorer and assists leader, and also holds the single-game scoring record with 36 points. 

Last time out against the Manchester Giants, she scored 17 points to lead her team in her second outing for the club. She shot 40% from three in her final college season, so Ashby and the rest of the team will need to pay close attention to the Hawaiian native in this one. 

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