National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester, 2.00pm Saturday March 13th
The Semi Final of the WBBL Trophy takes place on Saturday when the Manchester Met Mystics will host the Nottingham Wildcats. The teams have faced each other twice this season with the Wildcats coming away with the win both times, however this is not deterring the Mystics and Georgia Jones is feeling positive going into the game:
“We’ve not done ourselves justice in the last games we’ve played them so I think we will be more prepared (and) we’ll be ready for it. Obviously getting to the semi-finals is great for us so we really want to get all the way to the finals.”
The Mystics, currently at 3-4 in the league had convincing wins over Caledonia Pride and Newcastle Eagles in February to reach the semi- final stages. They will be looking for another big performance from GB international Jones, who had a career high 35 points, along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds in a win against Essex earlier this month, and leads the Mystics in points, assists, rebounds and steals.
Manchester have recently added Guard Jade Mbam to their roster who has re-joined them after spending the first half of the season at Angelo State in Texas. Mbam was a spark off the bench for the team last season and was a key part of the Mystics Academy success in the WEABL during 2019/20 with 14.3ppg, 7.9rpg, 5.9apg and 3.1spg.
A 75-41 win against Durham Palatinates in early March saw Nottingham through to the Trophy semi-finals. The Wildcats travel to Manchester off the back of two tough road losses to BA London Lions and Newcastle Eagles in the league.
Guard Chelsey Shumpert leads the team in scoring with 20.4ppg, third in the WBBL this season, along with 5.4rpg and 6apg. Whilst Centre Jasmine Joyner is dominating on the boards with 10.5 rebounds per game and 19.5ppg. Swedish guard Moa Lundqvist, playing for the Wildcats in her first WBBL season, is providing 9.9ppg and 7.8rpg on 50% shooting from the field.
Back with the team after missing some games earlier in the season is Siobhan Prior. A member of the silver medal winning Commonwealth Games team in 2018, Prior is poised to hit the 1000-point mark in the WBBL this season.
The key to the game for Manchester will be trying to slow down Joyner in the paint, easier said than done but Mystics Centre Hannah Shaw and Vanessa Akra will take on that assignment. Akra, whose work on court would show in the JLC- (The Jo Leedham Column – the effort and hard work not recorded by a stat) if it existed on a stat sheet, has been playing strong defence all season and makes hustle plays regularly.
Nottingham will want to contain Manchester from beyond the arc with Jones and Sophia Song shooting 39% and 40% respectively, from 3 this season.
The winner of the game will face BA London Lions in the final later this month.
Manchester Met Mystics home games are streamed live on the Manchester Mystics YouTube channel and the Mystics MVP award presented by Brand 161 & Bondi Bowls will follow post game.
FIBA Live stats: https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/WBBL/1861208/
Brand161 are a Basketball apparel and team wear clothing brand from Manchester: Instagram: @brand161mcr / Twitter: @brand161mcr