Bradford Dragons Women’s Basketball 1st team continued their VCARS.co.uk Women’s Division 2 North league title push with a 62 – 46 win versus Sefton Starlights (2011/12 Division 2 North runners up) on Saturday 16th February 2013.
Following a delayed start due to a preceding sports hall booking both teams warmed up for their first match up of the season. Dragons immediately stepped up to the challenge with Isalie Bloemen opening the score. Nadine Adu (Sefton’s top scorer in 4 of 6 games this season) quickly answered but on the back of some great team defence, Isalie and Vilma Jurgaityte pushed the score up 15 – 6. Sefton’s Jess Ross and Amy Whitehead (UCLAN student played against previously by the University of Bradford students) capitalised on Dragons end of quarter lapse to bring the game back to within 2 points, 15 – 13.
Sefton continued their momentum into the 2nd quarter taking the lead 15 – 16 but defensive changes plus baskets from Isalie, Laura Moloney and Rosie Pearcy helped Dragons regain control. Sefton’s mid range shooting plus Dragons failing to maximise upon great reads and opportunities given once again brought Sefton back into the game at 26 – 26! Following a timeout and 2 minutes remaining in the 1st half both teams had the opportunity to take advantage of each other’s defensive mistakes but it was Dragons Rosie and Laura hitting their shots to finish the half 32 – 27 up.
Both teams made the most of the 10 minute break to re-focus on the game and Dragons were given the challenge of scoring 60+ and keeping Sefton under 44. In trading baskets and stops Dragons gradually built up their lead to 8 points until Sefton’s player coach Ruth Cass and Leanne Haldane made it into a 3 point game, 39 – 36! Dragons Aleksandra Mazjakina picked up her 4th foul early in the 3rd and with only 3 points was having a quiet game until hitting a huge 3 pointer to maintain the advantage 42 – 38.
Going into the final quarter both teams were still in the game but in reality Dragons team defence and shooting was just warming up with 5 players working as 1 unit on defence securing possession after possession plus Aleksandra hitting 14 of her 20 points in this quarter alone to end the game top scorer and helping secure an important 62 – 46 Dragons win!
Coach Gunn commented, “This game was a huge step forwards putting the pressure on Sefton, Bury and Mansfield (all on 3 losses) in the 2012/13 VCARS.co.uk Women’s Division 2 North league title race but our focus now turns to the England Basketball Women’s National Trophy Final on the 23rd February versus Northamptonshire Titans. We can take a lot of positives away from this game and if as a team we can put these into practice throughout the final then we will be able to once again step up to the challenge.“
Elsewhere in the league, Sunderland City Predators (0 – 10) remained rooted to the bottom of the league with a 54- 91 loss versus Bury Blue Devils (8 – 3).
BDWB Scorers = Aleksandra Mazjakina (20 – 2 of 4 FTs), Isalie Bloemen (16), Vilma Jurgaityte (12) ,Rosie Pearcy (10), Laura Moloney (4), Natalia Laing, Lilita Smelina & Laima Smelina.