Report: Riders beat Wolves

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. 

Championship Preview: Riders at Wolves

Round two of the Women’s British Basketball League sees the Riders take on Oaklands Wolves on the road.

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Oaklands Wolves

Oaklands College
Hatfield Road
St Albans
Al4 0JA

Saturday, October 28, 5:45 PM

Back with a bang 

The Riders, returning with a revamped roster of fresh and familiar faces, hit the ground running to start their 2023/24 campaign. They beat the Manchester Giants 92-65, led by American forward Rayven Peeples who put up 18 points and 10 rebounds. 

Peeples exploded for 10 points in the third, which saw the Riders expand their lead to 16 after going into halftimes tied at 40. 

Leicester shot 52% from the field and a red-hot 47% from three to record a blowout in their season opener. 

They now turn their attention to Oaklands, as they face their first competitive action on the road this season. 

Winning Wolves on opening night 

After a difficult season last year, going 5-17 in the Championship and missing out on a playoff place, the Wolves started this season 1-0. 

They took on the Cardiff Met Archers on the road, taking a 79-55 win back home to get their season underway in style. 

It was a defensive display by the Wolves, who held Cardiff to just 28.4% shooting from the field in the game. On the other end, Oaklands’ three-point shooting got points on the board, as the visitors made 10 of their 26 attempts. 

Caterrion Thompson led them in the game, the 5’9” guard playing big with 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Another performance like that will be sure to test the Riders around the rim. 

Key matchup  

Thompson’s hot start to the season should come as no surprise for those who have followed her career. She arrives in Oaklands having led the scoring for Finnish side Forssain, averaging 18.1 points per game. 

The Ohio-born guard started out her college career at Bowling Green, where she remained until her Junior year. As a Redshirt Junior, Thompson ranked second on her team in scoring with 13.7 points per game and averaged 5.3 rebounds. 

In her final college season with Mississippi State, Thompson averaged 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds, leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage with 41%. 

Tasked with the role of slowing her down is Riders guard Taylor O’Brien, who had a dominant display of her own against Manchester. O‘Brien bossed the opening half of play, getting to the hoop with ease to put up a game-high 12 rebounds and 16 points. 

The rookie signed to the Riders from Flordia State, averaging 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison.

Expect a battle in the backcourt in this one.