London Lions lived up to their own hype by streamrollering Newcastle Eagles in the 2022 WBBL Cup final.

Victors by 87-47, largely untested following an 11-0 surge early in the first quarter at ArenaBirmingham that set the tone, Mark Clark’s side simply had too much talent for an Eagles team which has had to rebuild in recent weeks under a new coach and additional urgent recruits.

Now for the domestic quadruple, the capital outfit signalled.

Nothing less will really suffice, given their depth.

“I’m really pleased to get the win,” said Clark.
“It’s a nice way to end the first half of the season. I think Newcastle did an excellent job and they did really well to reach the final. We’re really pleased to win the game.
“We’ve never won the WBBL Cup before so it’s really nice to pick up some silverware and the group really do deserve it. The crowd mean everything to us, it’s so important for the game.”

It was a tough debut for Eagles new coach Noelia Cacheiro with Eagles trailing 39-18 at the half with Lions converting 8 of their 15 three-pointers before the break.

Every punch Newcastle threw, a one-two came back in response, inside and out. The advantage grew, until the gap was so great in the fourth that benches were thrown in for good measure.

London, fearless, exact and triumphant – and perhaps only getting started – with the MVP of the final, Azania Stewart, a perfect 9-9 from the field for 20 points and her Great Britain team-mate Jo Leedham picking up her first trophy in the UK, and as a mother, with 11 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

After reaching the Last 32 of the EuroCup, now they have a tangible prize.

“We’ve been working so hard from the beginning of this season,” said Stewart. “We’re just trying to put our level from Europe into the English (sic) league.”

Newcastle, paced by 16 points from Maddie McVicar, shot 38% from field goal range but were forced into 31 turnovers.

Game Stats

Photos: Mansoor Ahmed

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