Leah McDerment previews crunch Trophy semi-final
Manchester Giants Women guard Leah McDerment says the squad are hoping to put women's basketball in the city back on the map as their run in the Betty Codona Trophy continues this weekend.
The Giants Women swept aside Nottingham Wildcats 98-69 at the NBPC to advance from the quarter-finals, thanks in large part to an explosive Q2 which saw 37 points scored and just 18 conceded.
That saw Marg Jones' side advance to the semi-finals, where they will visit Essex Rebels on Saturday (4pm tip-off) for a chance to reach the Trophy final, which will take place at Birmingham's Utilita Arena over the weekend of January 27/28.
Previewing their next fixture, McDerment said: "We were really pleased with our performance against Nottingham, especially after such a disappointing loss to them a few weeks back.
"We’re feeling good and just getting better week-on-week and really building an identity, so we’re excited for another opportunity to play and build on last week's win.
"We have a strong local core that have represented Manchester at different age groups over the years, and I know for us it means a lot to put Manchester women’s basketball back on the map and have the chance of making it all the way to Birmingham.
"I’m sure there’s also a lot of people who wouldn’t have placed us in the semi-finals, so I’m really proud of how hard we've worked to earn our spot."
Standing in their way is a Rebels side boasting five wins from their opening eight Women's British Basketball League fixtures in 2023/24.
They sit two places about the Giants Women in the standings and ran out 87-76 winners in the league when they visited Manchester last month.
Nevertheless, 2021/22 quadruple-winner McDerment insists the group are more than capable of getting the job done in Essex.
"For us, it’s about piecing together four solid quarters. We had a poor third against them last time, but other than that, we know we’re right there with them," she added.
"It’s all about preparing, sticking to the game plan, and most of all, enjoying ourselves. That’s when we play our best basketball.
"Essex are a great team with a lot of depth, especially with Tyra Whitehead returning from injury, so it’s all about reviewing the film, making necessary adjustments and playing hard for 40 minutes.
"It’s always so much fun to play against great players, and even more so with the opportunity to make a final, so we’re looking forward to it!"