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Flyers Women claim WNBL Division One league title

Bristol Flyers Women have finished the 2018/19 season as champions of WNBL Division One.

The team was due to play the Loughborough Riders in a title-deciding game at WISE on Saturday, however the Riders forfeited on the day. The Flyers were awarded a 20-0 win as a result, which took them above Anglia Ruskin in the final league standings.

“To win the league title confirms we’ve been the best team over the course of the season,” said head coach Gareth Till.

“I’m so happy for the players, in a lot of cases this is the first piece of silverware they’ve won. We’ve got a taste for it and we want more.

“The league has been extremely competitive this season, which is great for women’s basketball. We have a strong squad with some exceptional individual talent.” 

Finishing on a 15-3 record, this is the first title the Flyers Women have won in their short history, and the first time a women’s team from Bristol have won a UK league title.

Helping make it possible have been new additions Flo Ward and Cristina Bigica – one of the WNBL’s leading scorers with an average 17 points per game – as well as more seasoned players Becky Cantin (a top five league rebounder), Hannah Wallace and Mai Zilbeti, and efforts from veteran talent Liisa Juul and Fiona Fox, who has also served as team captain.

“I think working well together is what led to our winning season,” said Wallace.

“We train so often and hard and look out for each other. I think that shows on the court.”

Zilbeti agrees: “As a team we feel really proud of the season. We’ve played as a pack, everyone of the court has had something to give and we’ve stuck together throughout - but we need to keep working and keep training, because now the playoffs are coming.”

The playoffs are indeed looming, and with the celebrations done, the team’s thoughts are now turning to their chance to finish as double winners. Doing so would be another step towards the Flyers’ goal of establishing themselves as a top basketball force.

“From the outset, we wanted this team to reach the highest league status of women’s basketball in the UK,” added Till.

“Winning the league is a part of the process, we need to continue pushing on and off the court to build our credentials and realise our dream.” 


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Written by Jack Ford. Jack has been volunteering with Bristol Flyers writing game reports on Flyers Women for the website and gameday programme.