Preview: Leicester Riders vs Sheffield Hatters

Leicester Riders conclude their Women’s British Basketball League campaign against the Sheffield Hatters, in a game to decide third and fourth place in the Championship standings. 

A win for the Riders will see them lock up third with a 16-4 record, but a loss would see the Hatters take the tiebreaker and third place at 15-5. 

One to watch 

Georgia Gayle 

14.1 points, 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds

Hatters leading scorer and 2024 All Star Georgia Gayle is the number one scoring threat the Riders will need to key in on in this matchup. 

The granddaughter of Betty Codona, the pioneer of women’s British basketball and founder of the Hatters, Gayle is a GB international and experienced professional. 

This season, she leads the Hatters in scoring and assists, scoring in double-digits on 17 occasions and putting up 20 three times in 19 appearances. 

Gayle put up 13/4/4 last time out against the Riders, shooting 6-12 from the field. Keeping her quiet for 40 minutes would go a long way towards slowing Sheffield’s side of the scoreboard down. 

The numbers

These two teams have been some of the highest-powered offences in the League this season, ranking second and third in points per game. 

The Hatters are one of two teams to score over 80 a night (82.7), and maximise their possessions by turning the ball over the least in the League. Meanwhile the Riders, who score 78.5 per game, are an efficient shooting group, connecting on a second-best 44% of their field goals. 

The Riders have the game’s highest scorer in American rookie Taylor O’Brien, whose 15.7 points per game has earned her two Player of the Month awards over the course of the season. 

Meanwhile the Hatters have seven scorers giving them over 7 points a night, their offence by committee giving the Riders issues last time the teams faced off.  


The Riders have faced the Hatters once before this season, falling 78-70 on the road. 

Desiree Ramos impressed with her highest-scoring performance on the season, putting up 25 points in 22 minutes, going 9-12 from the field. 

Turnovers were the difference in the game. Leicester lost the battle 25-11, and therefore lost a game in which they shot 43% from the field to Sheffield’s 36%. 

Riders’ All Star pairing of Sam Ashby and O’Brien combined for 36 (18 points each) to lead the team’s effort. 

But the loss means third place is up for grabs for the winner of this matchup. 

Tickets on sale

Tickets are on sale now for the Riders’ fixture against the Sheffield Hatters, and their playoff opener at the Mattioli Arena.

Playoff tickets include entry for both men’s and women’s playoff games on May 4, and the first 1,200 people through the door will receive a free “Dark Horse” playoff t-shirt.

How things stand in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship

The postseason is fast approaching for Leicester Riders in a tightly packed Women’s British Basketball League Championship.

The Riders have two pivotal games remaining in their League season, which could see them land in second, third or fourth in the standings.

Here’s how things are shaping up for the Riders ahead of their final two games…

The state of play

The Riders currently sit third in the standings with a 15-3 record, tied with the Caledonia Gladiators and a win behind the undefeated London Lions, who have two games in hand. 

The Riders are battling for seeding with the Gladiators and the Sheffield Hatters in fourth, who are their two remaining fixtures. 

Sunday’s game against the Gladiators will decide the tiebreaker between the sides, which may prove vital come season’s end. Leicester currently possess it with a four point win against the Scots last week, so a win against Caledonia would lock up the two seed for the Riders. 

A loss however, would risk the potential of Leicester falling to the four seed, with a showdown against the Hatters awaiting. Sheffield is a win behind the Riders with the tiebreaker, so the winner of that matchup would take the three seed for the postseason. 

Riders’ recent form 

Leicester enter this game having won nine of their last 10 games in the Women’s British Basketball League Championship. 

They have responded to their only hiccup, a road loss to the Hatters, with three straight wins, including an important victory against the Gladiators in the clutch last time out. 

The Riders have beaten the Essex Rebels, who knocked them out of the Trophy in January, the Newcastle Eagles twice and the Gladiators on their recent run, coming out on top against the better teams in the Championship. 

The win against the Gladiators made a statement to the League as they approach the 2024 Playoffs. 

The numbers

The Riders have established themselves as one of the elite offensive threats in British basketball, putting up the second most points in the League this season with 75.9 per game. 

They have done so with efficiency inside, knocking down 49% of their two point looks, led by Rayevn Peeples who is connecting on 65% of her shots in close. 

Peeples has been pivotal for the Riders establishing themselves on the glass this year. She ranks first among all players in offensive rebounds, and second in total rebounds per game, while sending away an average of 1.1 blocks, third best in the League. 

Defensively, led once again by Peeples, the Riders average the most blocks of any team with 4.3 per game. Katie Janusewska has been key to this from the wing, putting up 0.8 blocks per game. 

But the leading scorer of the Riders’ high-powered offence is Taylor O’Brien. The two-time Player of the Month has put up 15.7 points per game in her rookie season. She comes off the back of scoring 13 of the team’s 59n points against the Gladiators, and will look to lead the Riders to a crucial road win in Caledonia.