Lightning Wheelchair Basketball deliver an impressive display against East London Phoenix

Image by Ella Raper

Loughborough Lightning executed an impressive performance in their first away game of the season against last year’s finalists, East London Phoenix.

A win in their first game of the season set the bar high for the 2023 season of British Wheelchair Basketball’s Women’s Premier League. Loughborough Lightning travelled down to London for round two of the league, where they faced East London Phoenix. It was Bo Kramer’s debut game for Lightning, and she proved a real asset to the team, finishing as the top scorer in the game.

Winning the tip-off, Lightning had the first attack of the game; however, Phoenix took the early lead. It was a tough first quarter, but when GB Women’s Lucy Robinson scored the first basket for Lightning, the team was kickstarted. Shortly after, our Captain Robyn Love had a fast break and sank a basket 

Head Coach Bates made a substitution, bringing on Ana Blease and Bo Kramer. In her debut game Kramer brought pace and expertise on court. Kramer’s influence meant baskets for Lightning came faster, overtaking Phoenix, putting them ahead at the end of the first quarter.

Score at the end of the first quarter: Phoenix 10 – 13 Lightning

Lightning had a strong start to the second quarter, with Love and Kramer working together to score the first basket. East London Phoenix had to work hard to try and take back the lead, however, Lightning kept up the pace. Bo Kramer scored a 3 pointer, which furthered Lightning’s lead over Phoenix.

Lightning made basket after basket, which forced Phoenix to work hard to try and close the lead that Loughborough had developed. Paralympian Clare Griffiths brilliantly ended the quarter with a right-handed finger roll, scoring as the buzzer went off to end the quarter.

Half time score: Phoenix 26 – 41 Lightning

Lightning started the third quarter with a 15-point lead, but that wasn’t enough- they kept pushing. Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Kramer worked together in a pick and roll, and Fitzpatrick then made the shot. During the third quarter Lightning relentlessly attacked Phoenix and storm ahead, increasing their lead over phoenix by 6 points by the end of the quarter.

Score at the end of the third quarter: Phoenix 36 – 57 Lightning

In the first play of the final quarter, Robinson pushed into the key and scored the first two points of the quarter, while drawing a foul from Phoenix. The Head Coach from Phoenix called an early time out before Robinson could take her free throw. She makes her free throw making it a 3-point play in the first minute of play. Head coach Bates then sent on Maddie Martin, who worked with Love to keep putting up the baskets.

As the clock counts down, Kramer kept finding a path into the key, and put up shot after shot. Lightning’s final basket of the game was scored by Jess Atherley, which pushed Lightnings final point tally to 81.

Full-time score: Phoenix 53 – 81 Lightning

A fantastic all-round performance this week from Lightning, with a special mention to both Lynsey Speirs and Clare Griffiths for playing all 40 minutes of the game. 

After the game, Head Coach Bates was asked how he thought the team had improved from the first game to this one.

He answered, “We improved massively from our first game, and in all aspects we were better. We pushed the floor really hard, and we finished really well. Our teamwork, timings on offence, and defensive rotations were way better. I think we learnt a lot from the first game; we were good but not at the level that we wanted to be at. However, this game against Phoenix was probably the best I’ve seen us play as a team. I am really proud of the work the players put in during the week, and that we managed to transfer it to the game.” 

When Kramer was asked about her first game with Lightning, she said: “I was really looking forward to my first game in purple. I enjoyed every single second of it! It felt really good playing with everyone. The communication was strong, and we played as one team. Honestly it didn’t feel like it was just my first game with this team and, I think that is really positive! Given we can show this level of performance at the beginning of the season, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring!” 

Our next game is against Cardiff Met Archers, at their home court, on the 25th of February with a 2pm tip off. For more information and to purchase home tickets, visit our webpage here.