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WEABL Elite Eight recap – 15 March, plus Final Four preview

The excitement of the post-season is here, but for a quartet of teams, their playoff run is already over.

The opening round of the playoffs took place yesterday, with the Elite Eight field narrowing to the Final Fours following wins for CoLA, Copleston, Itchen and Oaklands in a South conference clean sweep.

That meant North #1 seeds and last season’s finalists Nottingham are out, throwing the top half of the playoff bracket wide open.

We check out all four of yesterday’s contests, plus there’s a look ahead to what’s in store for next week’s match-ups.

#1 Nottingham Academy Wildcats 70-88 #4 Itchen College

Top seeds in the North Nottingham are out of the playoffs after a stunning 88-70 upset at the hands of Itchen.

Faye Endean and Erin Caldwell conspired to script the Wildcats’ downfall, dropping 29 points apiece as Florrie Cotterill added 15 more.

Yemisi Mefful (17pts), Natalie Charity and Macy Cook (16pts each) all did well for the hosts, but it wouldn’t be enough to keep Nottingham’s season going.

#1 City of London Academy – Southwark 105-27 #4 The Sheffield College

South Conference winners and defending champs CoLA outclassed Sheffield, with a lopsided 105-27 final score.

Shay-Marie Oyewole made the most of the opportunity to shine against the North’s #4 seeds, collecting a game-high 25 points.

Emily O’Connell added 14 more as CoLA eased to a comfortable win.

#2 Copleston High School 89-54 #3 Charnwood College Riders

Copleston’s post-season journey continues as they saw off Charnwood, winning 89-54.

Saruna Gudza (20pts) and Louisa Gibbins (17pts) proved too much for the Riders, who were restricted on offence and led by 14 points from Constance Selby.

#2 The Manchester Mystics Academy 52-91 #3 Oaklands College

Oaklands made it a South conference clean sweep as the sealed the road upset over Manchester, 91-52.

Eighteen points from Mirian Mendez secured an afternoon of dominance from the South, with Kizzy Spence (17pts) and Daisy Porter (15pts) also enjoying a productive outing.

Alejandra Escriva-Gay (14pts) top-scored for Manchester, and former WEABL Player of the Week Isobel Robinson (13pts) was the only other Mystics’ player in double-digits.

Final Fours Preview

Eight has become four in the WEABL, with only the South Conference left in contention for this year’s playoff crown.

#1 seeds CoLA have a tie with Oaklands College, a team they’ve beaten at home 62-51 and on the road 71-39 this season.

The defending champs will no doubt be favourites to extend their record to three wins out of three, booking a place in the the final in the process.

Copleston will have home court advantage as they welcome #4 seeds Itchen, a team they’re very familiar with from recent weeks.

The sides met on the South Coast in late February, with Copleston winning 91-81, before renewing their rivalry in Suffolk to begin March. The hosts won that one as well, 94-74, thanks to 22 points from Saruna Gudza.

Both those games will take place on Wednesday 22 March 2023, with the eventual WEABL final taking place on Wednesday 29 March 2023 at Manchester’s National Basketball Performance Centre.

Tickets to attend the final are free, but still need to be purchased for capacity reasons.

To secure your ticket, please head to the Basketball England shop by clicking here.

Main image credit – Luke Simcock