The Newcastle Eagles WBBL side continued their recent excellent form and significant improvement this weekend with a fabulous road trip that brought them two superb wins,
After Saturday’s nail-biting 68 – 67 win over Essex Rebels that saw them through to the WBBL Trophy Semi-Final they stopped off in Nottingham on the way home and saw off the Wildcats 67 – 47 in their WBBL Championship clash.
A result that lifts the Eagles league record to a level 6 wins 6 loss performance consolidating their 6th place in the table and continuing their fine run which has lifted them into the play-off positions.
Head Coach Noelia Cacheiro’s charges have now won their last four games. Three in the WBBL Championship and a 90 – 82 first-round WBBL Trophy win over Sunday’s opponents after finally getting a settled roster and players back from injury.
That said Abby Lowe who only managed a shade over six minutes in Saturday’s Trophy win did sit last night’s game out as a precaution and the hero of the Trophy win Katie Nolan only played limited minutes. It made the road win all the sweeter.
Nolan indeed was not in the starting five nor was Maggie Justinak. Chloe Gaynor and Zoe Willis stepping up from the bench to show the versatility and depth of Cacheiro’s bench at the moment.
Not that the starters made the best of the early going. Nette Lewis actually made the first bucket of the game but Nottingham scored the next six points to lead by four with 7:45 left to play in the first. That’s when Newcastle took over.
A powerhouse defensive performance saw them hold their hosts scoreless for the rest of the first period as they responded with a 13 – 0 run to lead by nine after the first ten minutes.
Then they scored the first five points of the second period before Wildcats netted to end Eagles’ powerful 18-point unanswered run. It was a fleeting reprieve for the home side as Newcastle shut them down very effectively.
A 20 – 5 quarter completed by Lewis’s triple meant that the Eagles had all but confirmed the destiny of the game as they headed to the half-time locker room 35 – 11 to the good. An astonishing defensive effort that showcased the potential of their squad.
Lewis scored the first basket of the second half to give Newcastle their biggest lead of the but Wildcats responded with an 8 – 0 run that showed spirit and character.
Nottingham actually took the period by three points closing the gap to 47 – 26 going into the final ten minutes where all Newcastle had to do was see the game through.
A Molly Arnold lay-up actually restored the Eagles lead back to 26 points at 60 – 34 before a determined Nottingham side managed a 13 – 0 run to temporarily halt the Newcastle juggernaut with 2:44 to go. But it was too little too late.
The Eagles steadied and scored the last seven points of the contest to see out the game and take an excellent road win and complete a magnificent weekend for them and their coaching staff.
Cacheiro had talked before the game about ‘owning’ the Wildcats and after a third victory over their opponents this season it was a justified claim. This Eagles side is in fine form and really rolling at the moment.
Almost inevitably they were once again led by power forward Nette Lewis whilst teammate Chloe Gaynor pulled down12 rebounds. The guard play of Maggie Justinak and Marina Fernandez creating the opportunities for all to prosper.
Katie Nolan was in restricted minutes mode but the contributions of Zoe Willis, Racheal Bland and Courtney Claesen were also key as a very solid looking Eagles team continues to grow and progress.