🏀 London Lions women continue their European odyssey taking on Tango Bourges at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in the last 32 play-off round in the FIBA EuroCup Women. Tip-off is at 7pm and tickets must be purchased in advance.
CONGRATULATIONS to London Lions women who enjoyed a ground-breaking campaign in Europe, before going on to end the domestic season with a perfect 34-0 record. Securing a clean sweep of the WBBL cup, trophy, league and play-off silverware, the 2021/2022 London Lions women’s team will go down in history as the best ever to play in the WBBL! Stay tuned here for fixture and ticket news for the 2022/2023 season as soon as it’s published.
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The 2020/2021 campaign was one to remember for London Lions women who swept to their first victory in the WBBL Play-Off finals courtesy of a dominant 93-71 defeat of Newcastle Eagles. And this season the Lions have upped the ante with an entry into the FIBA EuroCup Women. Aiming for success on both domestic and European fronts, head coach Mark Clark has put together a roster stacked with exciting players (see below).
It had been 10 years since a British women’s club side had featured in European competition, not to mention a first for the Lions who wasted no time making their mark defeating Spain’s Gran Canaria over two legs in the preliminary round back in September. A landmark victory that was the first win by a British women’s team in European competition since 1987 and secured Lions qualification to the regular season proper (see below for more on the FIBA EuroCup Women format).
A rollercoaster Group K campaign included a dramatic victory over Germany’s Rutronik Star Keltern in the opening fixture of the group. Lions storming back from a deficit in the final quarter to win the match 81-78, a dramatic save from Kennedy Leonard (main picture) leading to a superb three-pointer from Joey Leedham-Warner in the dying moments of the match making the crucial difference.
Having won two of their first group matches, London Lions suffered three consecutive defeats but qualified for the knockout stages as one of the four best third-paced teams from each conference. 32 sides remain in this year’s FIBA EuroCup Women in 16 pairings who play each other home and away.
Mark Clark’s side have landed a formidable looking tie against Tango Bourges – the Belgium side are the No.1 seeds and have yet to lose a match in Europe, rattling off six straight group wins. And no-one knows the strength of Tango Bourges better than Joey Leedham-Warner who steps on court for London Lions tonight against her former side.
Can the Lions get a historic home win advantage to take into next week’s second leg in Belgium? Or will Tango Bourges prove too strong? All roads lead to the Crystal Palace National Copper Box Arena to find out.
👀 London Lions ones to watch: Take your pick! A stellar London Lions roster includes Shanice Beckford-Norton and Kennedy Leonard who were hugely influential last season both starring in Play-Off final victory over Newcastle – Beckford-Norton taking the MVP Award with the highest points total (30) recorded in a final, and Leonard recording a first ever triple-double in the showpiece game with 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Joining Beckford-Norton and Leonard for their first season with the London Lions are GB national players shooting guard Joey Leedham-Warner – a 2012 Olympian and GB leading scorer who has spent previous seasons in France and Turkey in the women’s EuroLeague – and centre Azania Stewart who is also a 2012 Olympian and Commonwealth Silver medallist. Also recruited in the close season is British guard Leah McDerment and – in the Lion’s continued mission to acquire basketball’s most promising young talent – three-time WBBL Young Player of the Year, Holly Winterburn who recently became the youngest player in the history of the WBBL to amass 1000 points.
🗝️ Doors open: circa 6pm.
🏀 Tip-off is at 7pm.
🎟️ Tickets are off-sale.
🚊 🚗 Travel tips: The closest railway station is Crystal Palace and Penge West is also within walking distance. The average journey time from London Victoria to Crystal Palace by train is 30 minutes. Free car parking is available at the venue with a total of 250 spaces.
About the FIBA EuroCup Women Regular Season: The FIBA EuroCup is a European knockout tournament featuring 48 women’s club sides from around Europe, split into two conferences based on geographical criteria. There are a total of 12 groups (of four sides each) who play each other on a home-and-away round-robin basis. Teams that finish first or second in their respective groups will advance to the knockout rounds, as well as the four best third-paced teams from each conference. Meaning 32 sides will progress from the group stages to the knockout stages that also take place on a home-and-away basis.