|Newcastle Eagles Women||18||23||18||22||7||88||Loss|
A short-handed Newcastle Eagles side left it all on the floor but couldn’t quite come out with a win in a blow to their playoff hopes down in St. Albans yesterday afternoon.
There’s no doubting that Head Coach Noelia Cacheiro and her charges would have had this game down as a win on their schedule but that would have been with a fair wind and a sail in their favour.
Unfortunately, the basketball gods were not shining down on a beleaguered Newcastle side that were shorn of important players such as Katie Nolan, Zoe Willis and Abby Lowe through injury.
It meant a virtual six-woman roster for the Eagles although Molly Arnold did play some minutes against a full loaded Wolves side that were hungry for a win to give them an outside chance of making those play-off positions.
That Newcastle only went down in overtime in the final reckoning was perhaps credit to those that took to the court. But Cacheiro would reflect on the long journey home that whilst there may be some honour to be taken in defeat, there were no points at the end of their efforts.
In the end it took overtime to finally separate the two teams after a pulsating high-scoring basketball game that ebbed and flowed and swung one way then the other throughout the course of the game.
All of the Eagles starters made double-figure contributions with Captain Marina Fernandez netting an incredible 7 from 12 three-point efforts to lead her side with 28 points.
The improving and getting ever fitter Coutrney Clasen had her biggest game in an Eagles vest and actually, like Fernandez and Maggie Justinak played in excess of forty minutes in the visitor’s cause.
It will be a tired set of players that will wake up on Sunday morning wondering just how the game got away from them after leading at one stage by eight points and seven at half-time.
The third period was crucial for the home side and saw them turn the game around in dramatic side to set-up a blockbuster of a final period that Newcastle just sneaked when a Rachael Bland lay-up with four seconds left on the clock took the game to overtime.
Earlier after Newcastle led early, Wolves had ended the first period with a 9 – 1 run to give them a five-point lead going into the second quarter. That second ten minutes was Newcastle’s most powerful as they excelled at both ends of the floor.
The restricted their hosts to a meagre 11 points whilst netting 23 of their own to establish that half-time lead. Then whatever was said it the locker rooms by both sides at the interval it had the bigger effect in the Oaklands confines.
They came at Newcastle strong in that third period to get back into a lead that they actually stretched to thirteen with 5 minutes 32 seconds to play. But the Eagles dug deep and led by Fernandez in particular they hauled themselves back into the game.
Bland’s late, late bucket meaning both sets of players faced that final five-minute period. Crucially for Newcastle, they had to face that overtime period without the services of power forward Nette Lewis who fouled out of the game just before Bland’s late game-saving intervention.
That extra five minutes swayed one way then the other but in the final analysis the final sway went the way of the Wolves and the Eagles with wings clipped had to concede a defeat they’d not anticipating having to take.