Match Report 30 November 2017
Blues vs Birmingham (8pm, Cambridge University Sports Centre)
In their final BUCS match of the year, the Blues faced the University of Birmingham, a team currently ranked second in the Midlands 1A League. The hosts were off to a slow start; having travelled to Oxford Brookes the night before, the Blues emerged tired and unfocused. Missing two important Centres (Claire Ratican and Nicola Duffy), Cambridge had trouble finding their rhythm.
After losing the first quarter 5-13, the Blues adjusted their strategy and started finding the gaps in Birmingham’s zone defence. Important baskets by forwards de Jonge and Pohran kept Cambridge in the game. However, at halftime, the Blues still trailed 16-24.
Cambridge regrouped at intermission and played a truly inspiring second half. Under the impetus of Cambridge veteran guard Mie Monti, the Blues switched to a very aggressive full-court press. The increased pressure had the desired effect; Birmingham did not score for seven full minutes. On the offensive end, Blues rookie Aicha Massrali sank an important basket for the Blues. Vocal support from the bench gave the team the much-needed energy to take the lead. Above all, Cambridge benefitted from smart and aggressive driving by Illingworth and Pohran. The cumulative effects of solid team defence and intelligent offensive plays resulted in a particularly strong third period, in which the hosts outscored their opponents 19-9.
Thanks to their determination and will-power, the Blues were able to maintain their lead. Remaining undefeated at home, Cambridge finish the first stretch of the season with an important 47-40 victory.
Points: Léonie de Jonge (27), Becky Illingworth (7), Nadya Pohran (7), Mie Monti (2), Emily Lees (2), Aicha Massrali (2)
Overall Free-Throw Accuracy: 7/17 = 41%