Head coach Chris Bunten is confident his new-look Newcastle Eagles WBBL side can spring a surprise and emerge from a double header weekend with two Trophy wins.
Following a frantic close-season, top flight women’s basketball resumed yesterday with eight clubs in action at the University of Essex.
And the central venue Trophy group games continue across the weekend with Newcastle set to face Caledonia Pride and Sevenoaks Suns within the space of 24 hours.
“We’re facing two very different teams in a short space of time and both sides will pose their own problems,” said Bunten.
“We’re expecting a young and enthusiastic Pride side to come out all guns blazing but we’re conscious of the fact that they’ll have faced a tough match against Sevenoaks the previous night.
“Who knows if that will count in our favour?
“By contrast Sevenoaks will have had a day’s rest by the time we play them on Sunday and I guess that could work for them.
“But they’re an experienced side with a winning mentality – whenever or wherever you play the Suns it’s a case of capitalising on their mistakes and playing to the top of your game.”
Bunten has experienced a frustrating summer attempting to finalise his WBBL roster but looks set to hand full Newcastle debuts to several players this weekend.
Anja-Fuchs Robetin played alongside Eagles stalwart Giulia Simioni during her US college career and the Austrian is in line to start against Pride.
German star Lisa Koop brings a wealth of European experience to Newcastle’s roster and the 6ft 6in centre will play this weekend – despitelingering doubts about her long-term WBBL availability.
And youngsters Millie Oates and Mollie Arnold could both make an impact off the bench as Bunten eases his new faces into competitive action.
Elsewhere, the returning Ruth Davison will be keen to make a big impression as she returns for a second spell with the North East’s only top flight roster.
But Bunten will be looking to last season’s proven quartet of Simioni, Georgia Ohrdorf, Rachael Bland and Orieoma Chuku-Etu to set the tone on a big weekend for the black and whites.
“We had a great run-out in our final pre-season game against Sheffield last weekend and confidence is high,” added Bunten.
“But it’s very early days and we have so much more to work on. From what I’ve seen we have a good chance of mixing it with the very best this season and this weekend will tell me more.”
Newcastle face Caledonia from 3pm today and the Eagles are back in action for a high noon tip-off against all-conquering Sevenoaks tomorrow.
Both games are free to watch on the WBBL’s YouTube Channel.