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Manchester Mystics Academy vs Nottingham Academy Wildcats

Nottingham Academy Wildcats claimed their first WEABL win of the Northern Conference season with a 73-69 victory at Manchester Mystics Academy.

The Wildcats started well, jumping out to a 12-5 lead before the Mystics closed to within three at the end of the first quarter. The second was a tight affair before Ashton hit a three to give the visitors an eight-point advantage going into halftime. Riley scored Nottingham’s first 6 points of the third quarter to extend the lead to 12 points, but the home side hit back in the final quarter. Mbam hit 10 of 12 straight points for the Mystics as they went up 69-68, their first lead of the game, but Nottingham showed their fighting spirit to clinch the win 73-69.

Four Nottingham players hit double figures, with Brahe Ashton leading the way with 16 points, including four 3s. Tasmin Hickling (15), Caitlyn Riley (14) and Shaniya Rose (13) also made a big impact for the visitors.

“Very excited for the group, who have been more competitive as the season has gone on,” said Wildcats coach Kenrick Liburd.

“Really did a great job defensively for the majority of the game, containing two very strong guards, moving the ball well and playing with great spacing and timing. It was definitely exciting to see the hard work pay off and the team come out with their first win of the year.”

For the Mystics, Jade Mbam hit seven 3s as she top-scored with 27 points. Chloe Andrew hit three 3s for her 13 points. Jessica Izevbigie (9), Beth Waugh (8) and Remi Idowu (8) also made important contributions.

Manchester guard Andrew said: “The game was tough. Nottingham came out with a desire to win the game and fought extremely hard throughout.”

“I am very proud of our players for fighting and showing heart. It really shows the development of the team throughout the season and it was a great game to be a part of.”

The Wildcats have now finished their regular season campaign whilst the Mystics will visit unbeaten Charnwood College on 6 March.