Magnificent Mansfield Giants stun title-chasing Birmingham

Jubilant Jo Richards, who played a big part in Mansfield Giants' shock win.
Jubilant Jo Richards, who played a big part in Mansfield Giants' shock win.

Magnificent Mansfield Giants sent shockwaves through the National Women’s Basketball League with a stunning victory over title-chasing Team Birmingham Elite.

The Birmingham side sat second in Division Two North after winning six of their previous seven matches. But refreshed from a three-week break, Giants pulled off a superb four-point win, 72-68, at the Oak Tree Leisure Centre to climb to fifth in the nine-team table.

“This performance was long overdue for us,” said jubilant player/coach Jo Richards, who netted 17 points herself. “The team have been working extremely hard in practice. It’s the confidence-booster we needed, going into the last stretch of games, and hopefully we can build on it to finish the league strongly after a shaky start with injuries.”

From the first minute, Giants looked as if they meant business, pouring in the points from all angles to force the visitors into an early time-out. By the end of the first quarter, they led 24-10 after a ten-point haul from Richards.

Birmingham found their stride in the second quarter, but new signing Emily Arshamian made an instant impact for the hosts and a big ‘three’ from Chedell Cruickshank kept their noses in front.

Giants continued to call the tune in the second half and, with Beth Wheldon scoring 13, they built a 20-point cushion going into the final quarter. Birmingham made a last-ditch attempt, with all guns blazing, but they had left themselves with too much to do, and Giants held on, with Wheldon finishing on 27 points.

This Sunday, they travel to met Sefton Starlights.