The top two teams in the WBBL Championship go head-to-head on Sunday as they battle for glory in the Molten WBBL Play-Off Final at The O2 Arena.
Nottingham Wildcats dropped just one game on their way to securing a historic league title, while Team Northumbria proved worthy challengers as they finished second despite their injury struggles.
Nottingham advanced to the Play-Off Final with convincing wins against Brixton Topcats and Sevenoaks Suns in successive weeks. The Wildcats also boast the league’s MVP amongst their ranks after Amber Stokes was rewarded with the top honour earlier this week following an impressive season that earned recognition from the coaches around the league.
Chris Bunten’s side came through an overtime thriller last weekend as they knocked out the defending champions, Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters, to reach their first major WBBL final. It was a third victory over Sheffield for the North-East side following on from a 2-0 series sweep in the regular season.
The WBBL caught up with some familiar faces to get some insight and predictions on Sunday’s Molten WBBL Play-Off Final between Nottingham Wildcats and Team Northumbria.
Matt Harber, Leicester Riders: “This Nottingham and Northumbria match-up is going to be interesting. There is no doubt that Nottingham are favourites going into the game. They have the edge over Northumbria through the quality of their backcourt and 1-2 punch of [Amber] Stokes and [Melissa] Diawakana. Plus, their average age and experience is far superior to that of Northumbria¹s.
Stef Collins, Cardiff Met Archers: “Northumbria have been playing very well in the play-offs, and an overtime Semi-Final win definitely sparks momentum as many people would have predicted a Nottingham v Sheffield Final. On the other hand, the Wildcats have been consistent all year and continued to dominate into the post-season.
“The combination of Stokes and Harris will be a difficult match-up for Northumbria, but Chris Bunten’s side is playing with great confidence and with one of the deepest benches in the league, everyone is stepping up and contributing. It is a close-one to call, but I think it will come down to the team who is ready to shine on the big stage.”
The Molten WBBL Play-Off Final showdown tips at 6pm on Sunday at The O2 Arena, and is also being shown LIVE on the BBC Sport website and BBC red button.