Match Report – 8 November 2017
Cambridge Blues vs Worcester (6pm at University of Worcester Arena)
The Blues women were faced with a tough battle last Wednesday as they met long-time rivals Worcester University in their first away game of the season. The two teams have had a turbulent match history in recent years, with home court advantage proving a significant factor in both teams’ successes. Accordingly, the Blues journeyed to Worcester with the knowledge that the ensuing match promised to be hard-fought.
In the opening minutes, Cambridge forward Emily Lees secured the first two points of the game with a power move to the basket to settle the Blues’ nerves, however her goal was swiftly answered by Worcester forward Hall, who shot a huge three-pointer to give the Wolves the lead by one. This was followed by a frenzied attack from the Worcester guards whose penetration of the key sent them to the line for foul shots twice in quick succession. Blues captain Leo de Jonge and Lees kept up the strong work from the inside, though, to keep the Worcester penetration at bay and go to the first break with a slight 14 vs 11 lead. However, this was not to last.
The Wolves changed tactics in the break to follow on from their early three-pointer by capitalising on the strength of their outside shooters. This saw the Wolves’ wings penetrating to the middle of the key only to kick the ball outside to their waiting guards and wrong footing the Cambridge defence—a strategy which saw them blow out the score by a quick series of long twos and threes. The Blues knew that their only hope was to maximise the inside ability of their ‘talls’ Ratican, Lees, Illingworth, Gatter and Duffy, but with little mercy shown to them by the basket, the Worcester scores went unanswered and the Blues were out-gunned by their opponents 30 vs 12 in the second quarter. To further their lead, Worcester then moved in to a defensive full-court press to fluster the Cambridge guards and force a number of turnovers. At the half-time break Cambridge faced a 41 vs 26 score line and needed to regroup.
The third quarter followed the fashion set out in the second quarter, with Cambridge unable to break the press or gain scoring opportunities in their offensive end. However, they fought on admirably and recovered some of their confidence in the final quarter by shutting down the Wolves’ outside shooting and dictating their own offensive game, resulting in some creative scoring opportunities for Gatter, Monti, Lees and de Jonge. Cambridge won the final quarter by keeping Worcester to only 5 points however it was too little too late for the Blues and the score read 59 vs 45 to Worcester when the buzzer called ‘full time’.