Mansfield Giants’ women returned from a tough away trip to Sefton Starlights with a 61-45 victory last weekend.
They had to make a long journey to Wrexham as the Starlights’ usual Liverpool home venue was out of action.
Having already faced them once this season heavily understrength, the Giants were on a mission to show they have what it takes to compete at the top of the league and led from the outset.
Steph Jones got out on the break to get the ball rolling, with an on-form Charlotte Levitt dominating from her first touch.
Sefton found their stride, scooping up some offensive boards to keep them in the game before calling a time-out. But the defensive team of Katy and Sarah Taylor once again caused problems for the home side, who trailed by four points at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter got off to a slow start, with both teams failing to find the hoop.
Seftons’ Michelle Adu continued to crash the offensive boards, as the game began to get more physical.
Jade Clemenson drew the contact to put Sefton in early foul trouble, which would come back to haunt them later in the game, seeing two of their players sent off.
Despite the low-scoring quarter, Mansfield managed to extend their lead to 25-20.
During the second half, it was the junior Giants that stepped up to take the limelight, with both Megan Geoghegan and Chloe Gaynor earning their place on the scoresheet.
It was another close quarter with both teams now converting the shots they’d struggled with in the second quarter.
The Giants’ defence continued to earn them some quick fast break points, while Sefton captain Ruth Cass led her team with six straight points with Giants taking the quarter 16-15.
However, the last quarter saw the Giants step up the pace, with both Alison Bridge and Jo Richards sinking threes to further the lead.
Levitt once again showed her class, scoring eight points in the quarter alone and, by the last few minutes Giants had a clear handle on the game.
But they had a new goal in sight, and that was to beat Starlights by the 16 points they had lost by in the first leg.
With Franky Harper stepping up to the plate, scoring the last basket of the game, Giants finished with a 16 point win which didn’t quite give them the head-to-head in the league, but a solid victory nonetheless.
The women now have a week’s rest before they face Bury Blue Devils, who once again stole a win from the team earlier in the season.
Giants; top scorers: C. Levitt 20, S. Jones 12, J. Richards 12.