Durham Palatinates, the University’s women’s basketball team, have made a blinding start to the new Women’s British Basketball League season.
After making several summer signings, including Leicester Riders’ Dee Hayward and Claire Paxton, Newcastle Eagles’ Kara Elderkin and Ferrol’s Nicolette Fong Lyew Quee, the Palatinates have won each of their opening three games with an average margin of victory of 17.3 points.
Having reached the final of the competition last season, Lee Davie’s side started as they meant to go on with two victories in the Betty Codona WBBL Trophy on a double-header weekend in Essex in late September.
On Friday 27 September, hosts Essex Rebels were defeated 78-66 with Hayward, Elderkin and Betsy MacDonald putting up 21, 19 and 17 points respectively.
Elderkin’s double-double was perhaps the best performance on the day, especially as it came alongside 21 rebounds and three assists.
The following day, in the quarter-finals of the same competition, Sheffield Hatters were dispatched 60-50 with the aforementioned trio of Hayward, Elderkin and MacDonald all contributing point scores in double figures once again.
Now into the semi-finals, the Palatinates will face off against Nottingham Wildcats in a one-leg tie.
On 5 October, in the first round of the WBBL Cup, Essex Rebels were once again the opponents as the Palatinates returned to Durham for their first home game of the season.
Unlike the meeting between the two sides a week prior, the match was far more comfortable for the hosts as they triumphed with a resounding 87-57 victory.
Hayward was in particularly fine form as she added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals to her impressive points tally of 24.
Equally impressive was Team England’s Mollie Campbell, who notched up a respectable eleven points, fourteen boards, four assists and a block.
Their performances deservedly earned them a place in the WBBL’s all-star five for the week, with Fong Lyew Quee’s 20 points and Elderkin’s 13 boards also deserving of mentions.
Now into the quarter-finals of the Cup, Palatinates will play Oakland Wolves at home in the next round.
Durham’s next home game is against BA London Lions at the Sports and Wellbeing Park, Maiden Castle on 19 October.
Image by Team Durham