Team Northumbria women’s basketball head coach Chris Bunten left Sport Central elated after his side produced a phenomenal second half performance to secure back-to-back derby victories against Durham Palatinates with an 85-78 win.
The last time the two sides faced off, it resulted in a thrilling fourth quarter that saw TN pull off a miraculous come-from-behind win.
Heading into the break in an equally tight rematch, the hosts trailed by three after a slow first half. But after the interval they came out all guns blazing to claim a seventh successive league victory.
And after the game Bunten could not hide his delight at his side’s performance – going as far as to say that it was his favourite game as TN head coach.
“We definitely spoke about how we could be a bit more clinical in our defence,” said Bunten.
“We played a lot more zone and we talked about how they attacked the zone last time, so credit to the girls, they absolutely nailed the gameplan.
“It was a bit closer in the first half but I know, thanks to the great support services we have here, that our girls are way fitter.
“We’ve gone through adversity after adversity.
“One of our starting Americans will be out for the next four weeks and Hannah, our GB player, got injured the day before the Durham match so couldn’t play.
“But I’m so proud of every single one of those girls.
“They bought in even harder than they did last week.
“They all made big plays.
“Players stepped up and I’m just so proud of the programme and every single one of them.
“I’m immensely proud and because of the circumstances that was probably my favourite game here.
“I’m so proud of every single one of them. The people that we have are just phenomenal people and players and they just step up with each other.
“It’s a great sign moving towards the playoffs. We have players to come back so we’re going to be a real force to be reckoned with.”
Bunten was also full of praise for Alison Gorrell, whose 22 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four steals played a key factor in securing a TN win.
“Alison Gorrell, really epitomises what this whole Northumbria sport program is all about,” said Bunten.
“She’s one of the nicest people, one of the hardest workers and she will only go on to do bigger and better things.
“She had 19 rebounds as a guard which is pretty unheard of.
“She’s an absolute pleasure to coach and will do absolutely anything the team needs her to do.”
Report by Oscar Haley