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Report: Bristol Flyers Women 66-41 Nottingham University

Bristol Flyers Women confidently and succinctly dispatched Nottingham University, coached by former WNBA player Andrea Congreaves at the weekend.


Flyers showed good on-court awareness and defence that saw them go on a nine-point run early on. Nottingham’s Somone broke this run with a jump shot to make the score line 11-4. Nottingham were quick to mobilise on defence, which helped them to monopolise play, but did not result in many points.

A highlight moment saw Sandra Yebdri find Fiona Fox, who in turn found Becky Cantin for a floating two. Following which, too many incomplete passes and a high level of defence led to a long scoring drought. Somone ended the inactivity at the basket, to which Mai Ansoain Zilbeti responded with a three-point shot just as the shot clock expired. Emily Short followed this with a three of her own that put the Flyers up 19-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The Flyers had to play tough interior defence to combat Nottingham, but were spared by too many mistakes from their opponents. Both teams utilised their players well here, with everyone on the floor put in the right position to optimise their individual skills. 

Alexandra Sokolova sank a tough basket for the Flyers four-and-a-half minutes in. Hannah Till followed this up with a floating shot in the paint, after which Rachel Byrne went on a four-point run for Nottingham, which put their score up to double-digits for the first time in the game.

A jump-shot from Molly James turned out to be the last points in the quarter after Hannah Wallace missed the final attempt before the half-time buzzer, despite which the Flyers still went to the locker room ahead 30 points to 12.

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Early in the third quarter Zilbeti had two baskets in a row, the first off a nice spin move, but Nottingham had come into the second half looking to make a statement. They overwhelmed the Flyers on defence, and Frances Musson put up a three pointer, but the Flyers interrupted this momentum moments later.

Liisa Juul intercepted a pass from Nottingham, which found its way into the hands of Zilbeti, who then handed it back off to Juul for the fast break. Juul found Hannah Wallace in the paint who layed it in for two. An additional basket from Till gave the Flyers a twenty-point lead, which Short maintained with a big block on Nottingham’s subsequent play.

Somone and Everreiro put up a five-point late run, and the quarter ended with threes from Hannah Wallace and Nottingham’s Eleanor Bishop, and the Flyers ensured they end the quarter 44-27 ahead blocking an easy basket from Somone.

Nottingham did well to box out the Flyers as the final quarter got underway, and on offence Eleanor Bishop put up a long-range jumper to go with a layup from Somone. There was a long stalemate as both teams worked hard not to allow the opposing side any easy routes to the basket. The Flyers did well to keep hold of possession, and Zilbeti finally broke the deadlock by knocking down a three. Frances Musson responded with a three-pointer that hit the rim and went in. 

The Flyers were forced into giving away turnovers and after four attempts in a row from Nottingham, Somone finally got a shot to drop. In the final minute Wallace made a three right on the shot-clock buzzer, and Till made another layup, this time on the fast break. 

A final layup from Till and block from Wallace capped off a sterling performance from the Flyers and saw them end the game ahead by 25 points. The win puts the team joint second in the league with Oxford Brookes.

Hannah Till, who had twelve points in the game, spoke afterwards to “As a team, when things are going well we generally stay really positive, we’re all up for it, we hope to continue that run and we’re not necessarily worried that will stop.

“If we get out of that groove, we just have to keep our concentration, keep positive, keep hustling and try to make it right again straight away.”

Head coach Gareth Till praised this win and talked about managing the team during an overwhelming win: “We’re looking for everyone to make an impact and up the levels, and for players off the bench to make an impression. We have so many players who are hungry to play and want them to keep that intensity.” 

“It’s a good comeback from last week against Reading, where we weren’t very good at all. We were probably better than the score line shows, but no matter what we are always looking for things we can improve on.”

Gareth Till

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About the contributor

Written by Jack Ford. A recent member of the Flyers Family, Jack has been volunteering with Bristol Flyers writing game reports on Flyers Women for the website and game day programme.