In a tantalising East Midlands Derby, the fifth-seed Nottingham Wildcats travelled to fourth-seed Leicester Riders on the back of four straight wins which had seen them make a late surge up the WBBL Championship table, and they prevailed 81-69.
The game started with the form book as Wildcats opened 12-5 when captain Brahe Ashton hit a three-pointer and the league’s leading scorer Brooklyn Pannell scored five early points.
The lead reached double-figures at 21-9 when Jahnae Gyles came from the bench to become the third different Wildcat to hit a triple, and they posted a 10-2 run over the first quarter break started by a Shaunay Edmonds ‘and-one’ and ended in the same manner by Praise Egharevba, Nottingham up 32-15.
With their season on the line, the hosts responded after the break, starting the third 12-4 and coming all the way back to tie the game at 53 as Oceana Hamilton scored ten points and Hannah Robb eight in what became a 21-7 spell.
But Wildcats never slipped behind as Kennedy Nicholas helped them find their feet with the last score of the third before Gyles scored eight points in the first four minutes of the fourth in what proved to be a decisive 16-6 spell, Pannell adding six more and making it 71-59 after another trey.
Overall, Pannell led the scoring once more, hitting 4-6 (66%) from the three-point line on her way to 21 points, while Gyles added 4-8 (50%) for 20 points from the bench as the Wildcats shot 10-20 (50%) from long range in the game.
WBBL Play-offs, Quarter-Final
Leicester Riders 69-81 Nottingham Wildcats (13-27, 28-44, 53-55)
(Riders – Hamilton 19, Robb 19, Lappenkuper 11; Wildcats – Pannell 21, Gyles 20, Egharevba 12)