LSBU Lady Topcats 66-41 Loughborough Riders II
Top Scorers: Bilson-Graham 15, Davids 12, James 8 [Game Stats]
The Lady Topcats progress to the Semi-Final of the National Trophy with a dominant second half performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd at The Rec.
The game started with tempo as both teams looked to push the ball and attack the basket which saw both new Point Guard, Charlene St Marthe and Sevian Witter get some scores through penetration and on the break. Rochelle Davids brought her usual energy, this time off the bench scoring back to back baskets of her own to spark an early 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Riders starting to find their range knocking down outside shots to claw their way back into the game tying it up at 19-19 half way through the quarter. But back to back three pointers from both Ishara Bilson-Graham and St Marthe helped the Topcats to regain the lead giving them a 29-26 advantage going into the half.
The second half was a different story as the Lady Topcats turned on their defensive intensity limiting the visitors whilst pushing the ball and controlling the tempo of the game. Scores from Vanessa Da Silva, Rachel James and again the red hot Bilson-Graham helped extend the lead to 37-28. The Topcats continued to bring energy off the bench where it was Davids again as well as Stephanie Laguda who both provided the boost on both ends of the floor to extend the lead to 17 points (45-28). The fast pace of the game seemed to be wearing down the Riders who couldn’t find their range, resulting in a 48-34 lead for the home team at the end of the third quarter.
The final stanza followed the previous with the Lady Topcats continuing to push the pace of the game and locking down on defence. The boards were controlled by both Achai Biong and Da Silva allowing the home team to get out on the break and get more easy scores. It was then Tia Brown who provided two long range three pointers to close the game out giving the Topcats a well deserved win 66-41 and a place in the Semi-Final of the National Trophy. Head Coach Steve Vear was again positive about the team’s performance.
“We haven’t played a game for 3 weeks due to teams pulling out of our league so to show no signs of rust was great to see. We really showed what our main strengths are in the second half on both ends of the floor. We controlled the boards with 46 rebounds as a team which will always give you a chance to win.”
Coach Vear also stressed how the team is improving in the small areas that is making a big difference to the team dynamic as well as thanking the crowd who supported today.
“At the beginning of the year, every team sat in a zone against us which we sometimes had difficulty with. Today really showed how far we have come in that regard. The Riders are well coached where they switched up between man and zone a lot in the game so it was great to see how we adapted on offence. With this being said, our defence was really the deciding factor. To only allow 15 points in the entire second half just proves how we can shut down teams and play at a very high intensity for the whole 4o minutes.
It was also great to have a loud crowd in today. This most definitely helped us rally in the second half and I want to thank all the fans that came out to support us!”
The Lady Topcats will await who they face in their semi final clash which will take place on Sunday January 19th.