Report: Riders dominate the Eagles for fourth straight win

Leicester Riders won their second straight against Newcastle Eagles, and fourth straight in the Championship, dominating wire-to-wire to emerge 90-75 victors. 

Star guard Taylor O’Brien set the tone with her scoring early, and stayed hot throughout to go off for 29 points and 11 rebounds. She led the Riders scoring for the second straight game, matching up well against the Eagles. 

She was backed by Sam Ashby and Marissa Hamilton, who both put up 15 points. Hamilton went 5-5 from three in the game, torching the Eagles from deep. 

The Riders shot 50% from the field and 45% from three in an efficient scoring display.

They also won the rebounding battle 48-42, as Rayven Peeples dominated the glass to grab 16 rebounds on the game. 

Newcastle struggled from deep throughout, shooting 15% from three against the Riders’ stifling perimeter defence. Leading scorer Tierra Hodges put up 23 points, but it wasn’t enough to lead her team to a win. 

O’Brien started the game aggressively. She scored the Riders first two buckets to take the lead, stringing a pull up from midrange and a floater off the dribble. The American guard led the game in the quarter, which Leicester led throughout. 

They were up by as much as seven, but the Eagles stayed in the game with the score 23-19 at the buzzer. A rainbow floater from Newcastle’s Lauren Saiki concluded the quarter’s action.

Back-to-back threes from Hamilton blew the game open, putting Leicester up nine in the second. The Riders held the visitors at arm’s length at the half, riding the hot hand of Peeples who followed up her frontcourt teammate with drives to the rim in the pick and roll. 

With 2:25 left in the quarter, O’Brien’s three gave the hosts their biggest lead of the evening at 38-26. Her corner three brought the Riders’ lead, and her points total, to double digits. The Eagles responded with a 5-0 run, and the sides entered the locker rooms with the Riders up 40-33. 

Triples from Hamilton and newly named All-Star Ashby rebuilt Leicester’s lead to start the second half. Ashby then attacked the hoop, followed by O’Brien, to make the score 56-37 halfway through the third. 

Hamilton’s hot hand continued to punish the Eagles. She drained her fourth triple to make it a 20 point difference. It was a lead they took into the fourth, after finished the third with a three from the top of the arc to make it 74-50. 

The final period was a formality, with the Riders having done the groundwork in the third quarter to set up a comfortable finish. Athena Thompson got to the hoop late, the 15 year old scoring her first points in the Women’s British Basketball League. She finished up with 6 points in the final quarter. 

The Riders are back in action on March 2, hosting the Oaklands Wolves.

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