One of the stand-out features of the dramatic and pulsating Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles 71 – 67 win in the Women’s British Basketball League at The Vertu Motors Arena last Saturday night was the performance of Eagles guard Courtney Clasen.

Clasen who’s entire career on Tyneside has been plagued and interrupted by serious injury after serious injury returned from her latest spell in spectacular style. Coming on from the bench she hit three of six triples in her 13-point haul that was the spark to help the Eagles to a vital victory.

Courtney Clasen returned from injury against Oaklands Wolves after a long layoff. (Photos: Gary Forster)

The American despite all the setbacks always manages to maintain a positive outlook and plays her basketball with a freedom and joy that is wonderful to see. Always with a smile on her face she is an infectious and valuable part of Head Coach Matt Newby’s roster.

After Saturday’s game I was able to catch-up with a highly delighted Clasen that was smiling from ear-to-ear as she assessed the game, the win and her part in it.

“I’m not really a points orientated person but honestly the way I felt being back on the court and not in pain and just playing with my team nothing can supersede that. It was a great feeling.”

Her thoughts on the way Newcastle turned the game around gave an insight into the mindset of this Eagles team.

“We focus a lot on composure and I think in the end that was what pulled us through. We stayed composed, we trusted in what we had and what we were doing and were able to get the win. Composure has been pretty much our word of the year.”

“When we have it we look great and when we don’t we look like headless chickens. The up tempo getting up and down the court and moving the ball just trusting each other, that’s when we’re at our best.”

The win against Oaklands was a huge result for an Eagles side who now face two final regular season games against the bottom two sides in the standings. Two more wins could give them real momentum for the playoffs.

Eagles Women beat Oaklands Wolves 71-67 last time out at the Vertu Motors Arena. (Photos: Gary Forster)

“Matt (Newby) kept saying that we had a 120 minutes left of the regular season and we’re going to focus on forty at a time and so let’s take care of each forty and we’ll put ourselves in a good position. Never counting anyone out but knowing we’ve got to stay focused and get the job done to be ready for the post season.”

It will be huge for Matt Newby and Clasen’s teammates if she can stay healthy for that run-in and beyond as her performance shows what she’s capable of when she gets healthy and translates that to on-court performances.

“I’ve been really diligent with this return and getting the revs, getting the confidence up leading up to this game and just trusting myself has been the biggest thing. When I get in my head and over think then like most athletes it never goes well for myself.”

“But when I just let the game come to me stay in the flow and have fun that’s when things really work. It was a great feeling and I’m with a great team.”

There’s no doubting that a fit Courtney Clasen can help The Eagles out and with the possibility of USA forward Jada Dapaa potentially also returning from injury Newcastle could be ready to make a statement in those end of season playoffs.