Last weekend’s 90 – 73 Women’s British Basketball League win to claim bragging rights in The North East was a good night for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles.
Head Coach Matt Newby’s first win. A sensational debut for new forward Tierra Hodges and a very canny contribution from new point guard Lauren Saiki. It all added up to a highly promising night. The trick now is to ensure it wasn’t a one-off.
That opportunity comes tonight in the Vertu Motors Arena as the winless Cardiff Met Archers arrive in Newcastle with a 0 – 4 record. A great chance then for Newcastle to record back-to-back wins.
If they do then Saiki, who had eight assists on debut last weekend, will no doubt be at the heart of it and after spending the last two seasons at Cardiff will be as influential off the court as she’ll no doubt be on it.
In previewing the arrival and challenge of her former Club tonight, Saiki started by returning to her debut.
“It was definitely good to be playing and being back in the League. Home game, home crowd is always fun to be in front of and it was nice to get started again. It’s always fun to win and every win you don’t take any win lightly in this League.”
“Every win we celebrate but then we get back together and get ready for the next one.”
That next one is, as said, Cardiff Met Archers who it is clear are still close to Saiki’s heart as she looked forward to the game.
“I have some pretty good friends I made down there in the couple of years I was there. It’ll be nice to see the coaching staff and the players and to be able to compete against people I used to see every day.”
“To do that in another home crowd and home game it’ll be just good to be out there and playing. It’s always going to be a competitive game with them. They play hard and scrappy and are no team to take lightly in this League at all.”
“Stef (Collins) the Head Coach has her ways to get her team to fight so it’s going to be a fun one. Every game we’re getting better up hear and working together and getting to know Coach Matt’s system.”
“He likes to play fast paced which I love so I’m just excited to be playing and to be getting back out there.”
On paper it looks like a game that the Eagles should win comfortably but once the players’ cross the sidelines and go on court the reality can be different. For Saiki it’s about her side and teammates when she considers the keys to the game.
“We’re trying to put forty together trying to play from the beginning to the end. Start strong. They’re little so we have some size advantage there so we’ll try to utilise that and make sure we dominate on the boards and get going at the other end.”
There’s no doubting that the arrival of Newby as Head Coach and adding Hodges and Saiki to the roster is a huge positive for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles.
It’s one they will hope they can take into tonight’s game which tips off at 7:30pm and turn it into another win as they look to continue to climb the League standings.
Tickets still available from the box office and on the door.