Newcastle Eagles managed to get their first win of the season, with a hard fought display against Nottingham Wildcats. Although the Geordies didn’t start the game on the front foot, they played tenacious defence and managed to battle their way to a well earned W.
The game started with Notts well on top, with Kayla Shaw absolutely lighting it up from behind the 3-point arc, shooting 3/3 in the first four minutes.
Wildcats were particularly dominant midway through the first quarter, leading by as many as 13 points (10-23), before Eagles managed to claw it back to single digits at the end of the quarter (18-25).
Newcastle came out the second quarter with a newfound tenacity on defence and managed to limit Nottingham to 14 points, nine less than they had in the first quarter.
The hustle on defence, along with some big shots from top scorer Katie Nolan and team captain Marina Fernandez Pardo – who hit a buzzer beater at the end of the quarter – helped the Geordies claw the gap to just two points before the break (37-39).
Newcastle started the second half in much the same way as they ended the first and managed to take only their second lead of the game (42-41) after Fernandez Pardo made a 3-pointer with just under eight minutes to go until the end of the quarter. From that point on, Eagles didn’t lose the lead again.
They even managed to lead by as many as eight points (51-43) which was their largest lead of the match and held Wildcats to just 12 points in the quarter. Going into the final 10 minutes two points up (53-51), the Geordies played excellent defence and got an eight point lead once again (59-51), following a tough and-1 by Zoe Willis.
The two teams then started exchanging 3-pointers and the difference was brought back down to a one possession game for the final two minutes. Despite Nottingham doing all they could – led by top scorer Shaw – who finished with 25 points, they couldn’t take the lead again, with Newcastle pouring everything on the court, epitomised by a brave charge taken by Willis who put her body on the line, with just over a minute left to play and her team up by one, while Nottingham were on a fast break. Eagles held on and managed to get their first win of the season in front of their home crowd.
Meanwhile in today’s earlier game, Sevenoaks Suns put on a dominant display away at Oakland Wolves, winning by a commanding 72 points, with six of their seven players in double figures. Starting off hot, Suns set the pace and scored an impressive 34 points in the first quarter.
During the second quarter, Suns defence really took control of the game, allowing Wolves to score just five points, while scoring 31 themselves. They were led by team captain and top scorer Renee Busch who scored 28 points with 6/11 from behind the 3-point line and went into the break up by 38 points (27-65).
The second half was much of the same and despite a valiant effort from the Wolves players, especially Kizzy Spence who shot 40% from outside the three, Sevenoaks were firmly on top, winning the third quarter 24-9 and the fourth 33-14.