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Riders fall in Cup Final

The Riders fell a game short of a second BBL Cup title, losing to the London Lions 95-42 in the final. 

Oliana Squires led a valiant Riders’ effort against an established European outfit, but could not prevent the Lions from lifting the trophy for the second straight year. She led the game with 23 points, giving everything on the court. 

Young GB star Holly Winterburn was awarded Molten Final MVP, putting up 16 points and eight assists. Every Lions player got in the scoring column in a complete team performance, led by 19 from Mikiah Herbert Harrigan. 

Squires got the Riders on the board to start the game, knocking down three free throws after being fouled from behind the arc. 

Squires scored eight points in the first five minutes, getting off to a hot start. However, two early threes from the Lions’ Katsiaryna Snytsina helped London to an early 16-10 lead. 

Squires continued her first quarter clinic, getting Holy Winterburn off her feet with lightning-quick handles before laying in a tough finish. She scored 10 of the Riders’ 15 first-quarter points, keeping them in the tie. 

Beth Sarson got the Riders on the board in the second period, cutting the Lions’ lead to seven. But London responded with seven straight to extend their advantage. 

The Riders chipped into their deficit midway through the second, as Ashley Arlen put up four straight to make it a 13-point game. London then hit back-to-back threes courtesy of Winterburn and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan to reclaim the points. 

The Lions rode their momentum to close the half, going on an 8-0 run to go up 20. They went into the locker rooms with the score 48-26 in their favour. 

Squires continued her scoring form in the second half, driving to the hoop to draw a foul a minute in. But the Lions won the first five minutes of the third quarter 12-4, getting to the free-throw line effectively. 

The Lions rode their momentum to close the half, going on an 8-0 run to go up 20. They went into the locker rooms with the score 48-26 in their favour. 

Squires led the Riders in the quarter with five points, hitting a three with a minute left, but they held a 38-point deficit with a period remaining. 

Arlen got the fourth underway with a finish inside, as the Riders showed heart to start the final quarter 5-0, following a three from Squires. 

The Lions saw the game out comfortably, becoming the first team in WBBL history to win multiple BBL Cups.