Mystics v Bears: Manchester Basketball Centre, 5.30pm Sunday Oct 23rd. Lapwings v Wildcats: Stockport Sport For All Centre, 4pm Saturday Oct 22nd. (Main image: @hccaptures)
Manchester Mystics v Bromsgrove Bears:
The Women’s National Cup knockout stages continue this weekend in Division 2 as the Manchester Mystics host the Bromsgrove Bears at the Manchester Basketball Centre on Sunday.
Both teams will be looking to kick start their journey to the final at the National Basketball Performance Centre in January, hoping to emulate the success of the current holders, Stockport Lapwings. The Lapwings became only the second Division 2 team to take the title in January of this year, in an epic battle against Division 1 Solent Kestrels. Down 10 points with 2 minutes to go, the Lapwings smothering defence and sharpshooting helped them hold their nerve to tie the game and force overtime, where they completed their fairytale run with a 4 point victory. The Lapwings were led by eventual MVP, Jade Bow-Butters, (26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals), Lauren Quigley, (11 points), Rosie Hynes (10 points) and Rehana Khalil (9 points).
The Mystics head into Sunday’s game after a convincing 81-36 win over the Manchester Valkyries last weekend. Led in scoring by new addition Rehana Khalil (15 points), Natalie Lam (14 points) and Becky Bellis (13 points) the Mystics fell behind early in the first but went on a 21-0 run and never looked back. Their strong defensive effort forced turnovers and shot clock violations and Lam made an immediate impact off the bench, putting the pressure on and coming away with a handful of steals.
Speaking after the game Khalil and Bellis credited the crowd that came out to support their first home game. (Watch their interview back here.) Khalil, who was with the Lapwings last season, is a great addition to an already strong core as she will be sure to bring a wealth of veteran experience to the team, alongside players such as Hannah Alty and Nat Feurtado.
Alty shared the teams mindset going into the knockout rounds:
“Bromsgrove are a tough team to go up against. They have a lot of height on their side which means we will really have to work collectively as a team to be able to defend them. We didn’t progress in the Cup last year so it’s one of our main goals for the season; we want the opportunity to play against Div 1 teams in order to better our chances in Division 2 and any potential chances of promotion. Division 1 is where we want to be so the Cup is a great way to work towards that goal.”
In the 21/22 regular season the Mystics made it to the playoff final, after a 3rd place finish in the North Division, but came up short against a very experienced Sheffield Hatters team, Alty and the team will have that in mind as they look to the rest of the season:
“Of course we want to make the National Finals again and this time be the team lifting the trophy!”
Having lost their first league game narrowly (60-52 v City of Birmingham Rockets) and with only a couple of training sessions completed ahead of the game, The Bears made a statement in their second game against Cardiff taking a comfortable 71-31 win, led in scoring by Amani Rodriquez-Thomas who had 17, (and is averaging 15 ppg) and Jade Cooper with 14.
Bromsgroves’ Dawn Hall says the team aim to “Look to progress and develop further each game they play. The ladies have been training hard and are looking to utilise this in the Cup game on Sunday Vs Manchester.”
Hall adds that the team “Are looking forward to the Season ahead after losing some key players early on last season due to injuries and other family commitments. However, the ladies are back and feeling as united as ever with a more firm squad of 14 players going into the 2022/23 Season.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, the Bears’ Head coach Sarah Welborn reported: “After last seasons misfortunes the team are looking to come back stronger this year and can build on the invaluable experience of the players that we possess. After playing Manchester last season we are aware that we are up against a well drilled team so will be required to remain focused in order clinch the win.“
All Manchester Mystics D2 home games are streamed live on the Manchester Magic and Mystics YouTube channel:
Stockport Lapwings v University of Nottingham Wildcats:
The Lapwings kick off their defence of the Cup with a home game against the University of Nottingham Wildcats at 4pm Saturday at the Stockport Sport For All Centre. For both teams the game marks the first one of the 2022/23 season, and each will be eager to set the tone for the season. Stockport will be hard to slow down but the Wildcats will be hoping to make a statement against the reigning champs.
Looking ahead to the game, Bow-Butters commented:
“Stockport Lapwings have their first game of the season and what better way to kick it off with a cup game against Nottingham. Stockport are keen to get the win and get on the ladder to defending their cup title.”
Despite Bow Butters taking a step back from playing this year, the team has a strong line up and some blasts from the past and it will be exciting to see the energetic input from Alex Lennie and Catherine Stansfield-Boys. Stockport aims to build strong foundations in offence and defence and build on last year’s success.
In-between her time, playing, coaching and refereeing, Jade Bow-Butters has set up the Female Basketball Association in Manchester. The FBA offers opportunities for women and girls to play, referee, coach and take table official courses. Find out more here.
Watch the 2021/22 Cup Final back here: