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Berkeley Royals Win WPBA Championship

Alameda Wolves fall in semifinals

After an amazing season, the Alameda Wolves entered the Women’s Premier Basketball Association (WPBA) Tournament of Champions in first place, despite a blowout 101-79 loss to the fourth-place Berkeley Royals in their final game of the regular season on July 29. That loss turned out to be a heartbreaking harbinger of what was to come.

Alameda Post - a group photo of the Berkeley Royals with a signs that says "Champions" next to a score count for the Final with 87 points for the Swish and 90 points for the Royals
Photo WBPA / Instagram.

Both the Wolves and the second-place Oakland Swish entered the championship tournament with a bye, so neither team would play until the semifinals. Unfortunately for the Wolves, the Royals handily beat the Bay Area Phoenix 89-79 in the quarterfinals, which meant the Wolves would have to face them again in the semifinals.

Quarterfinals

In that quarterfinal game, five Royals’ players scored in double figures against the Phoenix—forward Maria Cooks got a double-double with 26 points and 16 rebounds, point guard Brijanee Moore also produced a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, guard Nicolette Conkin scored 16 points, guard Ashley Hart scored 14, and guard Jasmine Guinn added 12.



Semifinals

Heading into the semifinal against the Wolves, the Royals were on fire. Their top scorer, forward Maria Cooks, scored 23 points, while guard Ashley Hart scored 17 points, guard Jasmine Guinn scored 16 points, and point guard Brijanee Moore added another 16. Five Wolves players scored in double digits—power forward Hannah Langhi, guard Faatimah Amen-Ra, and guard Rebecca Harris each scored 13 points, while forward Jazmine Jackson scored 12, and forward Raevaughn Barnes added 11—but it wasn’t enough. The Royals won the game, defeating the Wolves 79-64.

Meanwhile, the Swish defeated the Bay City Blaze 90-81 in the semifinals, with guard Alexis Brown notching a double-double (22 points and 15 rebounds) and guard Rachel Howard contributing 24 points and 6 rebounds. The team tied for the top of the rankings would face the formerly low-ranked Royals in the finals. The Swish had proven they were ready for tough competition, but the Royals had the upper hand.

Alameda Post - a Berkeley Royals player stands and smiles. Next to the photo, a scorecard for the semifinals reads that the Royals scored 79 and the Wolves scored 64
Photo WPBA / Instagram.

Finals

The WPBA 2023 title game on Sunday, August 6, was a nail-biter. The Royals had a 21-20 lead after the first quarter, but the Swish led 44-43 at halftime. The Swish scored 24 points in the third quarter and took a 3-point lead, but the Royals came back with a 25-point fourth quarter and won the game 90-87.

It was a hard-fought game, with Swish point guard Rachel Howard scoring 33 points and guard Nicol Berry adding 23. But Mariah Cooks was pivotal for the Royals with 36 points and 13 rebounds, with Ashley Hart adding 19 and Jasmine Guinn adding another 18. In the end, the Royals won the 2023 Women’s Premier Basketball Association championship and will take home a $3,000 prize, while the Swish will get $2,000.

Congratulations to both teams for a great season, and to our Alameda Wolves for making it to the semifinals.

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