The Newcastle Eagles WBBL side are on the road today at Oaklands College, St. Albans as they face a Wolves side in a Championship clash looking for a season’s double.
This is one of those games that on paper looks like an Eagles win. When the two sides met in November at the Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle took a convincing 99 – 72 win. It was the Eagles highest ever team score in a WBBL Championship game.
Add in that Wolves are on an 11-game losing streak and have only won 3 league games all season. Compare that with Newcastle’s 7 wins 7 loses and 4 wins in their last 5 games and the odds are all in favour of the visitors this afternoon.
But, as Centre Chloe Gaynor previewed the game she was cautiously optimistic after Newcastle look to bounce back after last weekend’s WBBL Trophy Semi-Final loss at home to Leicester.
“It was a tough loss to Leicester. I think you put it behind you in some ways but also take it with you to fuel your next game. There’s always things to be learnt from the previous game and taking those things into our game today will be important.”
Gaynor was in agreement that today’s game is one of those that her teammates and she have earmarked as a win but that it’s never quite as simple as that.
“I think if you look on paper it’s a game we should win. But basketball is unpredictable at times. You always have to put your best self forward to take care of business. Oaklands have been competitive and the addition of Beth Sarson has strengthened their roster. It should be a good game.”
One of the factors that could contrive against the Eagles is that star forward Katie Nolan will still be missing due to the broken hand that kept her out of the Riders game. Nolan is a vital part of the Eagles arsenal and Gaynor has a role to play to help cover her absence.
“Katie is an unbelievable teammate. Even though she is hurt she is still making her presence known through her energy. She is truly everyone’s hype woman. We miss her on the court of course but she is doing a great job of still contributing to the team in every way she possibly can.”
“I think its everyone’s job to step up to cover her absence but it is definitely my responsibility also as I move back to playing the ‘5’ again which I haven’t done since the very beginning of the season.”
“It’s a different dynamic for us with Katie out and shifting our style of play. A few of us this season have had to play numerous positions so it’s something I’m used to in changing roles.”
“I’ll just try my best to help hoover up the boards and provide us with that post presence in Katie’s absence.”
Gaynor has no doubts as to what she thinks her Eagles teammates and she needs to do to get a much-needed win to keep them in the play-off race.
“I think the keys to the game for us is locking in in defence and stopping their transition game. They’re heavily reliant on their senior players and shutting them down early will be the key.”
“Offensively we need to be smart and make accurate reads. I think it will be a game where our IQ will need to help us get good shots that we can turn into great shots.”
Tip-off for today’s game down south is at 16:15pm and the game can be watched live via The WBBL live streaming on YouTube.