Match Report 24 January 2018
Blues vs Nottingham Trent (5:30pm, University Sports Centre)
Facing the league’s number one team Nottingham Trent, the Cambridge women’s Blues were in for a challenging start to 2018. Blues forward Claire Ratican opened the scoreboard with a beautiful lay-up which was quickly met with a two-pointer by Nottingham Trent. Ratican scored again to push the Blues ahead, but the game soon changed in favour of Trent when they made use of two consecutive turnovers to take a 2-point lead. With competition fierce, Blues captain Léo de Jonge and veteran forward Emily Lees put in a strong performance at the end of the first quarter, leaving the Blues only 2 points behind their opponents (15:17).
In the second quarter, coach Amalio Fernández-Pacheco changed the Blues’ defensive strategy, resulting in a higher number of steals and rebounds, especially by Emily Lees and Carla Rios. Despite de Jonge’s admirable efforts this quarter, Trent’s outside shooting was clinical; Trent scored two 3-pointers giving them a 35-27 lead at halftime.
The Blues came back stronger than ever in the second half. The tall starting trio (Illingworth, Ratican & de Jonge) scored 7 consecutive points to bring the score up to 34:35, thereby increasing pressure on the opposition to return suit. Relying on their outside sharp shooting skills, Trent managed to quickly bring their score up to 40, forcing the Blues to work even harder to close the gap. Under the impetus of Rios and Monti, Cambridge started attacking the middle of the key.
The fourth quarter started with the same intensity after the Blues switched to a full-court press resulting in series of turn-overs for Nottingham Trent. Their determination kept the Blues close in the game, trailing 52:54 with just one minute left on the clock. In a nail-biting finale, Trent managed to score two points to outgun the Blues’ courageous comeback and win the game with a final score of 52:56. All in all, the Blues put in a solid performance and chased the game with real grit.
Blues Scorers: Léonie de Jonge (20), Claire Ratican (12), Emily Lees (6), Mie Monti (4), Becky Illingworth (4), Carla Rios (2), Annie Lyons (2), Lauren Ness(2).