London Lions progressed in the WBBL Playoffs – and got a head start for next season.

The capital club, whose European ambitions were revealed last month by MVP, have re-signed Great Britain international Kennedy Leonard to a new two-year deal.

And the WBBL Trophy winners swept past Essex Rebels 92-65 in the quarter-finals of the playoffs in Newcastle on Sunday with Leonard putting up 22 points to lead the Lions, along with a huge sixteen assists, eight rebounds and eight steals.

Stephanie Umeh provided fantastic help from the bench for the Lions, as she recorded a double-double herself in just 20 minutes of action, with 22 points and 13 rebounds from the bench. Chantel Charles and Cassie Breen also made it into double digits for the Lions, with 18 and 14 points respectively.

They now dace a semi-final on Friday in Worcester against Nottingham Wildcats also advanced into the Semi-Finals with a 80-64 victory over the Manchester Met Mystics.

Chelsey Shumpert led the way with a 26 point and seven rebound performance for the Wildcats, who have had to overcome the loss of inspirational captain Siobhan Prior who has opted out of the playoffs for personal reasons.
Hannah Shaw led Manchester with 18 points.

The other semi final pits league champions Sevenoaks Suns against Newcastle Eagles.

The Tyneside outfit became the lowest seed ever to win a post-season contest since the WBBL began with a 79-73 upset of Leicester Riders.

Abby Lowe, with 26, and Alison Gorrell on 24 combined for three-quarters of their points.

On their home court, Newcastle opened the fourth with back-to-back threes from Lowe and Rachael Bland to lead 63-54 and from there they managed to hold Riders off, despite them getting back to within one shot numerous times. Initially, Maddy McVicar hit a big triple to extend the advantage, but they needed one more big score as Riders were within two inside the final minute, and it came out of a timeout on a play drawn up for Lowe.

Sevenoaks powered past Oaklands Wolves with a 76-59 victory, remaining unbeaten in the post-season for five years, 10 straight games, having lifted the Play-off trophy in each of the last three completed seasons dating back to 2016-17.

After a tight opening, the Suns blew the game open with a 14-0 surge early in the second stanza, as Irene Garrido-Perez scored seven of her game-high 20 points in that run and they held Wolves scoreless for nearly seven minutes.

Photo: Ahmedphotos

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