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Southern comfort for remaining WEABL hopefuls

CoLA captain Adaobi Nebuwa

A series of impressive performances at the Elite Eight stage from the WEABL’s four Southern Conference sides has left the competition with a lopsided feel heading into this week’s Final Fours.

As #4 seed Barking upset Northern #1 seed Charnwood and #3 City of London Academy also saw off higher ranked opponents in #2 Nottingham, BA and CoLA joined John Madejski Academy and Copleston in the next round of the post season, eliminating all four Northern playoff qualifiers in the process.

After a hard-fought road game, CoLA captain Adaobi Nebuwa was delighted by her side’s 54-50 victory: “I was really proud of our team against Nottingham in the Elite Eights.

“It’s no secret we’ve had a different season with injuries, so for us to rally and win in the way we did on the road was something I’m proud of.”

Barking’s Jolicia Cadogan was also pleased with her side’s efforts following the 66-58 win over the Riders: “I feel like we worked well as a team, even through adversity, and the win has definitely helped with our confidence moving forward.”

That could spell bad news for Final Four opponents Copleston, who host Barking this Thursday with a 1:30pm tip. Cadogan offered her thoughts on what BA need to do in order to try and overcome a Copleston team that won 93-70 when these sides met in Suffolk during the regular season: “For the Final Four game we need to keep the same team effort offensively and defensively because playing Copleston will be a tough one.”

CoLA travel to top seeds JMA on Wednesday and head coach Jackson Gibbons is more than aware that besting the Rockets on their own court will be a tough proposition: “JMA away hasn’t been an easy fixture for us the last two seasons, it will be a big challenge and we are expecting it to be loud and packed with their home supporters.

“When you get to this stage nothing will come easy and I hope our girls play to their potential, that’s all I ask.”

Following this week’s Final Fours, the WEABL playoffs take a week off before the finals for the ABL, EABL and WEABL take place at University of Essex Sport Arena on Wednesday 18 March.