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EBL Women’s Division 1 Final
Rhondda Rebels 61 (16,26,38) (Murphy 17, Compain/Smirneou 15)
Sheffield 72 (12,38,53) (Brincat 26, Kagie 14, Lavin 11)
Rhondda Rebels hopes of the perfect season fizzled out at the Birmingham NIA when they were comprehensively beaten by arch rivals Sheffield Hatters 72-61 in the Division One Play-Off final.
The valley outfit who had gone 25 games unbeaten during the domestic season and were going for a clean sweep of trophies having already won the National Cup
and League Championship but they became unstuck when they produced their worst performance of the season.
Gone was their fluid offence as they struggled throughout against a more determined and hungry Steel City outfit who made it 13 playoff successes out of the last 14 attempts.
The Rebels never really recovered from a slow start despite briefly taking the lead towards the end of the 1st quarter at 12 – 16 The second quarter saw Sheffield turn the heat up with some excellent shooting while at the other end the Rebels squandered a bucketful of opportunities as the Hatters out scored the Rebels 26 – 10 to open up a 38 – 26 lead
The Rebels cause was not helped when Kiwi Megan Compain damaged a calf on the restart and although the ex-WNBAer struggled on she was the shadow of the player who have given the team so much energy all season
The Hatters punished Rhondda’s mistakes and managed to open up a 17 point lead during the 3rd quarter with some fast break points as the Rebels struggled to find any rhythm.
Going into the final quarter the Rebels trailed 53 – 38 and the team tried everything to get back into the game and despite a late flurry when the Rebels reduced the lead to just 5 points at 62–57 the valley outfit ran out of time.
To add insult to injury, after the Rebels had stood their ground in the final seconds to concede defeat Kristy Lavin sunk a three pointer on the buzzer to inflict a
disappointing end to the season.
General Manager Andrew Tynan said: "It’s a very disappointing end to what has been a great season we were out played and outfought for the majority of the game and Sheffield were by far the better side on
"It’s hard to be critical of the team after the performances they have put in this season but equally it’s so frustrating to end the season this way.
Teesside Mohawks may have ceded their league and Trophy titles this term but at the very last, they produced a mammoth performance to deny Plymouth a clean sweep of EBL honours, retaining their play-off crown with a 80-75 victory at the NIA.
However after leading for most of the contest, Tony Hanson's side had to withstand a final quarter barrage from the Raiders, who were paced by a game-best 29 points from Roderick Wellington.
EJ Harrison led Teesside with 29.
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