Cardiff Met Archers1412261971Loss
Newcastle Eagles Women1818222684Win

The Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles flew down to Cardiff to take on the season-long winless Cardiff Met Archers and in a game that was perhaps closer than they would have like came away with a vital win in the race for the end of season Women’s British Basketball League play-offs.

The Eagles look now an odds-on bet to finish in the top six of the standings and a probable trip to Leicester Riders for their play-off Quarter Final. Newcastle do still have one more regular season game to play against Manchester next Saturday night in The Vertu Motors Arena.

But this was the game/win they needed to continue the momentum built up last weekend when they defeated Oaklands Wolves 71 – 67. A win next Saturday would give them a lot of confidence going into the playoffs having finished the season in strong style.

The final score line in Saturday afternoon’s win was perhaps closer than a lot of people may have anticipated given Cardiff’s wretched season but pride is always on the line in any sporting event and credit must go to The Archers for making the Eagles fight all the way.

Indeed, it was only a strong finish to the final quarter that got Head Coach Matt Newby’s side over the line after Archers threatened a comeback and a shock victory. Newcastle staying composed down the stretch and hitting late free throws with Cardiff in foul trouble to take in the end a comfortable win.

The Eagles led for the vast majority of the game. Archers only lead of the game coming early on in the first period at 5 points to 3. Eagles levelled and then went in front for the first time through Abby Lowe and Lauren Saiki 2-point baskets and took the first period by 18 – 14.

In the second period Cardiff did nudge in front once by a single point but strong play by Lowe, Saiki and Tierra Hodges eventually saw Newcastle win the period by six points to hold a double-digit lead at 36 to 26 heading into the half-time locker room discussions.

The signs looked good for Newcastle but they could never quite see the home side off and an initially strong third period start from Cardiff saw them cut the gap to seven before an Eagles burst of eight unanswered points gave them their biggest lead of the afternoon at 15-points.

Back again came Cardiff with a great run of their own with Jenna Hoschouer and Laura Shanahan leading the charge and suddenly it was game on once again as Newcastle’s lead was cut to six points as the teams headed to the final ten minutes.

Archers were firing well now and Newcastle were doing well to hold them at wing’s length as the final period unfolded. At 73 to 68 the game was still in the balance but the Eagles were not about to let their advantage slip reeling off nine unanswered points inside the last two minutes to seal the deal.

All of The Eagles points on the day came from their starting five who all produced powerful performances. All-Star forward Tierra Hodges had 22 points and 16 rebounds for a terrific double-double and Abby Lowe matched her teammate’s points haul adding in 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Captain Marina Fernandez just missed a double-double pulling down 9 boards to go with her 16 points also dishing out five assists. Lauren Saiki had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists against her former Club and Chloe Gaynor weighed in with 9 points personal and 4 rebounds.

So, one final regular season game left for the Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles next Saturday night at home to Manchester Giants. The Eagles will be looking to end their regular season on a high and put in a winning performance to reward their loyal fanbase.

Tickets for Saturday’s home game against Manchester Giants can be found at the Box Office.