Injury-hit Team Northumbria women’s basketball team were reduced to a team of six in their 112-32 loss in the WBBL against Leicester Riders.
TN were forced to field an inexperienced side as they were without Team GB vetertan Hannah Shaw, US centre Kara Bonenberger and league MVP contender Ali Gorrell – who suffered an ankle injury in the team’s game against Caledonia Pride last month.
To compound the situation neither Giulia Simoni nor Kalina Aksentieva was able to start.
“The game was tough and one of the hardest games I have had to coach,” said head coach Chris Bunten. “I felt sorry for the five players who had to play.
“We have been ravaged by injuries and that meant we had five starters unavailable for the game.
“I asked Leicester and the WBBL two weeks ago if we could rearrange but they were unsympathetic to our problems so three of the University’s second team players stepped up and gave it their all.
“It was a horrible game for us all to be in and from start to finish and we couldn’t wait for it to be over.”
With limited options, TN’s players were forced to play the full 40 minutes against a Leicester side that had already established a 32-point lead in the first quarter.
Ruthless Riders dominated on the court against a weakened TN and it was all the visitors could do to try and defend in an impossible game to the best of their ability.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for TN though as Evelyn Ovner managed to score a double-double with only Riders’ Alex Smith matching the determined Swede.
“We are hoping to get Hannah, Ali, Kara, Kalina and Giulia fully fit for our game against Manchester on February 17,” added Bunten.
Report by Natalie Martin