Bradford Dragons Women’s Basketball 1st team clinched the 2013 England Basketball Women’s National Trophy with a 51 – 42 win versus Northamptonshire Titans at the Senior National League Finals day hosted at Braunstone Leisure Centre, Leicester.
The National Trophy is a knockout affair for VCARS.co.uk Division 2 Women teams and both Bradford Dragons and Northamptonshire Titans had won three games to reach this stage. Dragons (in their first National League season after making the Women’s Founders Cup final last season) defeated Sunderland City Predators, Cardiff Archers 2 and London Westside to make the final whereas Titans defeated Solent Suns, Mansfield Giants and Birmingham Mets to reach this stage. Northamptonshire’s win over Mansfield suggested that the final could be a close affair; Titans won 70-50 in Mansfield on December 15 and the week before Giants lost in Bradford in a league game by a similar margin (63-41).
6’2’’ Angelina Browne won the tip off for Titans and as both teams settled into the game Titans’ Sascha Thompson opened the scoring to create a 4 – 0 lead after 2 minutes. Dragons’ Vilma Jurgaityte, Steph Jones and Isalie Bloemen quickly regained the lead 4 – 7. In trading baskets Titans took back the lead 10 – 9 until Titans’ Izzy Johns fouled Dragons’ Aleksandra Mazjakina with 5 seconds left in the 1st quarter. In calling a timeout Dragons Rosie Pearcy made the assist to Aleksandra hitting the baseline shot to take the 10 – 11 lead into the break.
Titans’ Sascha once again kept her team in the game as Dragons focused on shutting down Titans’ Angelina and Manal Cali until Dragons’ Aleksandra hit 2 of 2 free throws 6 minutes into the 2nd quarter to change the lead for the 8th and ultimately the final time in the game. Dragons’ Vilma blocked Manal’s shot and once again Dragons called a timeout with 23 seconds left in the half. This time it was Dragons’ Isalie making the shot to take a 19 – 25 lead into the half.
At the half both teams were still evenly matched but Dragons gradually built their lead to 21 – 29 in the 3rd quarter until Titans’ edged their way back into the game 27 – 29. 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter and the game could have gone either way with both teams fighting for every possession but it was Dragons’ captain Laura Moloney and Steph making their baskets helping regain a 6 point lead to set up the final quarter at 27 – 33.
Both teams continued to fight for every rebound whilst creating open shots but once again it wasn’t until the second minute in the quarter until Dragons capitalised on Titans’ frustrations with Aleksandra quickly making a basket followed by a Laura 3 pointer. At 27 – 38 Titans called a timeout but to no avail as the lead was maintained with the game finishing 51 – 42 and Dragons’ Alexandra finishing on a double double (17 rebounds and 12 points) being honoured with the game’s Most Valuable Player award!
Coach Mark Gunn commented, “This is a fantastic achievement in our first season in the England Basketball women’s national league, not only earned by the players but made possible by all the support staff, volunteers and our strong links with the University of Bradford basketball programme.“
BDWB Scorers = Aleksandra Mazjakina (12), Vilma Jurgaityte (12), Isalie Bloemen (10), Steph Jones (10), Laura Moloney (5), Natalia Laing (2), Lizzie Malek, Rosie Pearcy, Lilita Smelina & Laima Smelina.
Just 24 hours following picking up the 2013 Women’s National Trophy title Bradford Dragons Women’s Basketball 1st team stumbled in their VCARS.co.uk Women’s Division 2 North league title push losing 59 – 46 win away to Sefton Starlights on Sunday 24th February 2013.
Sefton on their home court with a strong team hosted Bradford Dragons in league action and in the 1st quarter both teams made the most of their possessions but as the Dragons defence stepped up in the 2nd and 3rd quarter keeping Sefton to just 6 points in each, poor finishing off some great reads kept Sefton in the game. At 29 – 29 going into the final quarter the game tipped into Sefton’s favour and although Dragons worked hard, consistent shooting from Sefton’s Haseldine and Ross created a Sefton lead. With 2 minutes remaining in the game Dragons utilised the game to practice clock stopping tactics with Sefton’ Ross hitting 5 free throws to finish the game.
Coach Mark Gunn commented, “This was a tough loss just 24 hours after winning the National Trophy Final especially as all the players stepped up to the challenge in the first 3 quarters regardless of missing key players and fatigue kicking in from Saturday’s game but as Sefton stepped up a gear in the final quarter hitting shot after shot we couldn’t respond. The 2012/13 league title is still the next aim for us and with the top 4 teams all still in contention and potentially only the top spot making the national playoffs we will work hard to re-focus and step up once again starting next Sunday versus the same team!“
Elsewhere in the league, Sunderland City Predators picked up their first win of the season at home, 67 – 46 to Doncaster Danum Eagles whilst Mansfield Giants won 70 – 62 in overtime versus Bury Blue Devils.
BDWB Scorers = Aleksandra Mazjakina (18), Isalie Bloemen (16), Lizzie Malek (4), Lilita Smelina (4), Laura Moloney (2), Laima Smelina (2) & Rosie Pearcy.