Newcastle Eagles must regroup and refocus after a bitterly disappointing return to WBBL action brought about successive losses on the road.
Chris Bunten’s side suffered overtime heartache at Essex Rebels hot on the heels of a heavy defeat at title favourites Sevenoaks Suns.
|Newcastle Eagles WBBL||10||15||8||7||40||Loss|
And the experienced playcaller will be looking for a positive response when his side travel to Nottingham Wildcats on Saturday.
Newcastle were back on the WBBL beat for the first time since November 3 when a convincing win against Oaklands Wolves cemented a solid start to the season.
But Bunten’s players – lacking top flight match practice – came crashing down to earth on a weekend that served as a striking wake-up call.
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Essex completed a 103-90 overtime win against the Eagles led by 36 points from Jessy Ward and an impressive double double of 32 points and 12 rebounds from DeAngelique Waithe.
|Newcastle Eagles WBBL||20||18||24||25||3||90||Loss|
But Bunten came away from the Rebels knowing it was a chance missed as the black and whites put themselves in a winning position during regulation time.
A strong second half from the Tynesiders extended a thrilling fixture by a further five minutes.
But Newcastle conceded 16 points during a disastrous extra period and could only manage three in reply.
And it was clear a tough weekend on the road had finally taken its toll as the visitors ran out of gas down the stretch.
Kalina Axentieva led the Eagles in scoring with 27 points as four Newcastle players hit double figures.
But it will be the concession of more than a century of points that will disappoint Bunten most against a side without a league win in six attempts heading into tonight’s clash.
Less than 24 hours earlier Newcastle were taught a WBBL lesson at league leaders Sevenoaks as Bunten’s side crashed to a crushing 33-point loss.
The hosts – featuring former Team Northumbria favourites Ta’Yani Clarke and Cat Carr – dominated from start to finish after opening up a seven-point first quarter advantage.
The Eagles were 12 points down at the half but the Suns utterly eclipsed their rivals after the break to put the game beyond the visitors.
One positive was Kara Bonenberger’s 18 minutes on her return from injury but only in-form Aussie Georgia Ohrdorf hit double figures for a Newcastle side defeated 73-40.
The Eagles are back in action this weekend when they travel to Nottingham on Saturday before Sunday’s huge WBBL quarter-final clash against Sevenoaks.
The Suns will head into the Sport Central showdown with a 5pm tip-off as firm favourites but Bunten remains confident his transitional roster can spring a surprise.
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Newcastle Eagles WBBL 58 - 80Sevenoaks SunsSport CentralWBBL Cup