Leicester Riders beat the Oaklands Wolves 92-78 on the road to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Riders had three players score over 18 points, showcasing their strength across the roster. Taylor O’Brien led the game with 21, backed by McKenzie Johnston’s 19 and Sam Ashby’s 18 in a bombardment from the backcourt.
A 30-18 third quarter proved the difference in the tie after a tightly contested first half. The Riders saw themselves up narrowly as the quarter came to a close, before Johnston’s full-court heave to beat the buzzer snatched momentum for the visitors.
The Riders dominated the glass throughout, winning the rebounding battle 50-35 led by Rayven Peeple’s 12 for her second-straight double-double.
Oaklands led at the half and put on a good showing throughout, forcing Leicester to compete for 40 minutes to get the win over the line. Shaquera Wade’s 14 points, five rebounds and three assists led the team, but it wasn’t enough as the Wolves fell to 1-1.
Sam Ashby’s dominance began from the jump. In the first quarter she stuffed the stat sheet, putting up eight points and four rebounds in just six minutes. Her efforts were matched by Oakland’s Wade, who also put eight on the board in a back-and-forth backcourt battle.
The Riders trailed through seven minutes before Peeples cleaned up Ashby’s missed layup with three minutes left in the quarter. That gave Leicester their first lead of the game, which they carried into the end of the first.
The Wolves exploded to start the second quarter with a 10-0 run, draining two threes out the gate and forcing a Riders timeout. It was Ashby again who stemmed the tide, making a layup inside as Leicester kept in the tie.
The Wolves held them at arm’s length for much of the second. Their lead remained around two scores, finding the basket consistently despite Peeple’s seven points in the quarter.
Momentum swung the Riders’ way with two minutes remaining. They finished the half 5-2, cutting it to one possession by the break.
Where the Riders found form in the third quarter in their season opener, they did the same in this one. Marissa Hamilton provided a threat from behind the arc, hitting two to put Leicester up four.
It was the visitor’s turn to hold their opponents at arm’s length going into the fourth. Oaklands hung around for most of the quarter, but Johnston sent the Riders’ bench into raptures by making a heave from her own three-point line to beat the buzzer, making it 71-62 with one to play.
Jessica Eadsforth-Yates had the hot hand to start the fourth, draining two threes to make it a 14-point game in the Riders’ favour. They saw the game out from there, with American guard Taylor O’Brien’s triple setting the stage for a comfortable finale.
After a two-week break, the Riders will remain on the road for their next tie, heading across the western border to take on Cardiff Met Archers on November 18th.