Nottingham Wildcats returned to their winning ways in their first game since the end of January with a dominant 95-61 away win over the Manchester Mystics putting themselves in fourth place in the standings with a .500 record.
Led by their electric Guard and Centre duo of Chelsey Shumpert and Jasmine Joyner, who played together at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Nottingham broke out to a 32-17 point lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Joyner, who finished with 30 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, had 16 points in the first quarter alone.
5”3 guard Shumpert put on an impressive display controlling the offence and contributed 27 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals in a game that saw Nottingham shoot 55% from the field. A new signing for this season after 3 years at the University of San Francisco, Moa Lundqvist had 16 points and 11 rebounds hitting an incredible 8/8 from the field. Playing in her first WBBL season, backup Centre Chloe Gaynor pulled down 5 boards and added 2 steals.
Tia Freeman, who has represented GB at both U16 and U20 level, added 17 points on 75% shooting from beyond the arc including consecutive 3s in the third quarter to increase Nottingham’s lead to 35. Coming off the bench in her first game of the season, Mariam Olowoyin contributed 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and a block.
Nottingham’s lead also provided chance for some of the team’s younger players to get court time and valuable game experience. Wildcats Academy players Masie Evison and Dejanae Casanova added a point, rebound and assist. Lateisha Willis, who has committed to the College of St Rose in New York for the 2021 season, saw seven minutes of court time and Rebecca Dwomoh finished with 4 points and 1 rebound.
Shumpert, playing in her third WBBL season for the Wildcats is second in the league in scoring with 21.3 points per game, fourth in assists with 5.8 and in the top 10 for steals with 2.7. FocusHoops spoke with her, after the game to get her thoughts on the Wildcats performance, and just how she gets those rebounds when often being the smallest player on court!
FocusHoops: “Chelsey, you’ve just had a fantastic game against Manchester, you’ve not played since the end of January, are you pleased with how it went?”
Chelsey Shumpert: “Yeh I am, I’m pleased with how it went, we started off good , we haven’t played in a couple of weeks…getting that little rust off but overall it was a good game. Manchester is always a tough team and a tough environment to play in but overall I felt good about it.”
FH: “You and Jasmine (Joyner) always have such strong games together, that chemistry from playing together at The University of Tennessee, how much does that help you having a teammate like that that you’ve known for so long?
CS: “It helps a lot…Jaz, I’ve been playing with her for a while and just to have a post player, I’m small and she’s big, we differentiate a little bit and we’re the same in a lot of areas so when I’m out there with her I know pretty much what she’s going to do and she knows what I’m going to do so we help each other not only on the court but off the court.”
FH: “As one of the smallest players on the court how do you get in there and get those rebounds, 5.6 rebounds a game you’re averaging this season”
CS: “It’s tough; you have to get in spots, you have to just really look and see different spots and different angles you can get in cos I’m only 5”3…when I was at University that’s one of the things my coach said, even though I’m the smallest person (on court) I can be a giant and lionhearted and that’s what I do…pick different spots, pick different schemes and I can get a few rebounds.”
FH: “You guys are playing Caledonia tomorrow (February 14th), how are you feeling going into that?
CS: We’re feeling pretty good, today was a good start back on the winning side and we’re just grateful to be playing in these difficult times right now…I feel like we’ve got a good start and are on a good path and tomorrow we’ll see what’s to come.”
Nottingham Wildcats play Caledonia at 3.00pm GMT on February 14th. All home games are streamed live on the team’s YouTube channel: Nottingham Wildcats YouTube Game Streams. Follow the team on Twitter and Instagram: @NottmWildcats
Catch all of Shumpert’s 27 points in full from today’s livestream in Manchester presented by Brand161. Brand 161 in partnership with Bondi Bowls at Mystics home games present the MVP award for the Mystics player of the game.
Bondi Bowls deliver Aussie inspired, plant based, naturally gluten free bowls to your door in Manchester City Centre and merchandise nationwide: www.bondibowls.co.uk / Instagram: @bondibowlsuk
Brand161 are a Basketball apparel and team wear clothing brand from Manchester: Instagram: @brand161mcr / Twitter: @brand161mcr