|Newcastle Eagles Women
Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles failed to gather in the festive cheer as they slipped to a defeat on the road in Oaklands on Saturday night.
In a pivotal game in the standings it was the hungrier Wolves that held sway throughout the 40 minutes.
Eagles wing player Zoe Willis had talked prior to the game about her team needing to play a full forty minutes and use their inside presence to establish a game plan if they were to get a win.
In the end being outrebounded 45 to 27 and the home side scoring 58 points inside the paint to Newcastle’s 40 whilst losing all four quarters suggested that Matt Newby’s side didn’t achieve their goal.
Of course, it’s never as simple as that. There’s no doubt that Newcastle under Newby have made progress but it’s also just as obvious that games, results and performances like this show that the process is still a work in progress.
The Eagles were still without the supporting presence of Chloe Gaynor and Princess Adeogun. Tere’s no doubt that their availability would have helped their side particularly with rotations and the ability to change playing styles.
But injuries are a part of any team sport and Newcastle would have set their stall up to try and cover both omissions knowing they would have been short-handed. In the end though credit must be given to an Oaklands side that were very good throughout and deserved their win.
Newcastle were right in the game until the closing stages of the first period. Katie Nolan netted the first basket of the contest to open the scoring. Little did anyone know at that time that those two points would be the Eagles biggest lead of the night.
The opening led to a see-saw quarter where both teams led at stages. Captain Marina Fernandez’s triple gave her side a 15 points to 14 lead. Oaklands responded but Tierra Hodges netted again giving Eagles a 17 – 16 advantage. That was as good as it got.
From that point the game turned. Wolves scored the last nine points of the first period to lead 25 – 17 and despite staying committed and fighting all the way, Newcastle could never get back on parity.
They lost the second period by a single point to trail by nine at 47 points to 38 and then when Oaklands took the third by 20 to 15 it was game over as Newcastle just didn’t have enough to get back into the contest and slipped to what has to be considered a disappointing defeat.
It means Newcastle end the year with a 3 wins and 4 losses record and slip to 8th place in the standings. It is the same record as their conquerors who leapfrog them due to the head-to-head victory.
For Newby’s side, Hodges once again top scored with 15 points and added 8 rebounds. It’s now three leading point scoring efforts from the American forward in the three games she’s played.
MVP honours though went to Fernandez who had 14 points and added 10 assists for a fine double-double. Nolan had 13 points and 5 rebounds, Abby Lowe a consistent 12 points and 4 rebounds and the ever improving Willis netted 11 points.
But in the end it wasn’t enough as Newcastle returned home to re-group over the Christmas and New Year period before facing Nottingham Wildcats at the Vertu Motors Arena on Saturday 6th January.
Tickets for our Eagles women’s first tip-off of 2024 are available from the box office.