By Joe Pinchin | @jpincho22
Leeds Met were named the 2011 Women’s BUCS basketball National Champions on Sunday, after defeating 3-time defending champions UWIC 80-77 in the final.
UWIC opened the game with two quick fouls in the first two minutes from Rebecca Brough, sending her to the bench early. Leeds’ fast break was flowing well as they took a 10-5 lead in the first 5 minutes. UWIC went inside to Nicky Avery to close the gap on Leeds before Eszter Velkey drained back-to-back threes to push Leeds up, 18-11. Velkey and Tina Menz then continued to convert off good ball movement from Leeds to give them a 27-17 first quarter lead.
Despite nursing an injury, Rehana Khalil checked in for Leeds in the 2nd quarter and made an instant impact, draining back-to-back threes and a long two thrusting Leeds Met’s lead to 13. UWIC then picked up a number of quick fouls leaving Stef Collins and Nicky Avery in trouble along with Brough. UWIC remained close after a spell of poor defense from Leeds but at the half Leeds were up 42-31.
Following a quiet first half by her standards, UWIC’s Megan Hoffman stepped up her energy level on the defensive end and aggressiveness on offense, getting to the rim and making jump shots. Stef Collins, Sarah Wagstaff and Megan Hoffman combined well in the third quarter, before foul trouble required Collins and Wagstaff to sit for UWIC, forcing Leeds to foul and allowing UWIC to tie the game from the free-throw line and take a 59-58 at the end of three.
Deanne Hayward came alive for Leeds in the fourth, totaling 12 points in the quarter to put Leeds up 75-63. Subsequent to UWIC’s final time out of the game, Wagstaff drained two deep threes and Megan Hoffman made a long two to pull within six of Leeds Met, 80-74.
With no timeouts remaining, a big defensive play from Stef Collins got UWIC the ball back with less than 20 second left in the game. Collins calmly dribbled a top the three point line before executing a great pick and roll play to give Wagstaff a shot to win. It was no good but a big rebound by UWIC and kick out to Leah Dehaan for another good look at a three to tie the game. The shot went up at the buzzer…in and out. Leeds hung on to win the game 80-77 after an almost miracle comeback from UWIC in the final two minutes of the game.
Tina Menz took MVP honors for Leeds Met with 22 points whilst Eszter Velkey added 20 points. UWIC were lead by Sarah Wagstaff and Megan Hoffman who totaled 19 each and Leah Dehaan added 13, whilst playing through tonsillitis.
7th/8th Playoff Game – Loughborough v London Met
An undersized Loughborough team looked sharp from the tip (at 9am on a Sunday morning?!) pushing the ball early and getting high percentage looks for their inside players Naomi Campbell and Sophie Soitel. As Loughborough opened up a ten point lead, London’s Vesela Marinova halted the run and kept her team within ten of the midlands side at the half, 31-23.
Loughborough’s scoring slowed as London’s defense picked up late in the second half. Met closed the gap and took the lead by one on a Triin Taal free throw with under a minute to go in the game. Loughborough’s Jennie Rodger’s, who had made four threes already in the game stepped up and made a big step back three pointer with the shot clock winding down, putting her team up by two. In the dying seconds of the game London Met missed an opportunity to tie the game and Loughborough’s Beth Evans sunk two free throws to seal the win and seventh place, 61-57.
Loughborough were led by Naomi Campbell’s 19 points and Jennie Rodgers 18 whilst London Met were led by Vesela Marinova’s 24 points.
3rd/4th Playoff – Durham v Northumbria
Durham began the game without starter Noelia Quintas due to an ankle injury. Ta’yani Clark looked to capitalise on the weakened line up, coming out fast and strong for Team Northumbria. Durham looked shocked in transition defense and as Northumbria pushed the ball hard; Durham players were showing signs of fatigue early on.
Just as Northumbria looked to pull away Durham’s Kim Bennett and Leah Rush grabbed control of the game, pull themselves back from down 11 just before the first quarter break to within five. Durham then went cold again, allowing Northumbria to push the lead up to nine before Clark made a long three to put her team ahead 45-33 at half time.
Durham’s Noelia Quintas, who had so far been on the bench as an observer due to an ankle injury, had seen enough. Quintas got taped, changed and made an immediate impact to the game in the second half, playing the point and allowing Rush and Bennett work off the ball more freely. Rush took over offensively, totaling 17 points in the third quarter to put her team up 63-55 at the end of three.
Player-Coach Rush also switched up her defense, placing herself on Northumbria’s Clark and limiting her to just eight second half points, after scoring 24 in the first two periods. Beth Lonsdale picked up the slack for Northumbria, making three big threes, on route to a 24 point game, to keep her team close in the fourth. The play of Rush and the shooting of Quintas, however, was too much for Northumbria to handle.
Durham secured third place, winning 79-74 behind an impressive 31 points from Rush, 21 from Kim Bennett and 13 from Noelia Quintas.
5th/6th Playoff Game – LSBU v Oxford
After dispatching Loughborough in their game Saturday, LSBU quickly took control of their match against Oxford in a similar style. Pressuring the ball resulted in easy scores for the London team as they quickly built a lead, going into the first break up 22-11.
Oxford’s Lindsay Whorton tried to keep her team in the game by continuing to be aggressive with the basketball. Whorton finished with a game high 28 points but only two other Oxford players totaled more than two points, Sarah Lowe who finish with nine and Annick Routhier with seven,
Ijeoma Ofomata was just too strong going to basket for the Oxford defense; totaling 19 points to lead all scorers and helping LSBU extend their lead right up until the final buzzer.
LSBU took 5th place, winning 79-51.
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