Date Time League Season
December 16, 2023 6:00 pm Women's Regular Season 2023-24

After two excellent home wins in a row the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles are on the road this Saturday afternoon down in St. Albans to take on Oaklands Wolves in the Women’s British Basketball League.

The Wolves are just below the Eagles in the standings with a 2 – 4 record giving the game extra meaning as the two sides look evenly matched and are both looking to progress.

Progress is probably the watchword for Newcastle as second year Eagle Zoe Willis previewed the challenge ahead by looking at the game as well as assessing life under Head Coach Matt Newby.

“The team has really started gelling together with time. We have managed to fix the last pieces together with the addition of Lauren (Saiki) and T (Tierra Hodges).”

“Across the board we really are focusing on maintaining a high level of consistency across the whole forty minutes. Everyone is buying into that which has allowed for contributions 1 through 12.”

In acknowledging the impact Saiki and Hodges have made to the Newcastle roster, Willis is delighted to have them as teammates as she explained who they are making a difference.

“The Point Guard rotation is an area we have always struggled with and bringing Lauren in has been a massive benefit for everyone. Lauren’s knowledge of the game along with her ability to pass the basketball has opened up a new style of play for us.”

“It allows many individuals to play the position that they are most suited to. T’s versatility on the court gives us many options both offensively and defensively. She has the ability to score the ball from many areas on the floor and is a great asset to our team.”

Although Coach Newby has now had three games with his new team it’s still a learning curve as Willis went on to explain.

“Coach Newby has come in with a new style but one that we have all bought into and are very much enjoying. I think everyone now understands they play within the team and I think we can all see that translating on the floor.”

Willis herself seems to be improving with every game. After injury issues last season she’s come back stronger, fitter and is giving valuable supporting minutes from the bench.

“I have a great relationship with Matt and my role on the team has changed since he took over. I am adapting to different positions on the court whilst enjoying the trust and freedom he gives me and the team to play.”

“We have systems now that suit myself and the different personnel we have. When we execute that we can be a really competitive team in this league.”

Turning her thoughts to the last game before the Christmas break, Willis is in now doubt where her teammates and her need to put their focus as they search for a third consecutive win.

“Oaklands have a really solid team this year compared to previous year’s. However, looking at this game the focus is still largely on us. We are working to put together a full 40-minute game where we play at our highest level and execute for the full duration.”

“I think it is going to be really competitive however I believe Katie (Nolan) and T’s dominance on the inside could be a handful. If we play at pace and utilise our many threats then I think we are a tough team for any team to match up against.”

A win at Oaklands would take the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles to a 4 – 3 record in the League, give them an early Christmas present and set themselves up nicely for the games to come in the New Year.