Sunday, March 18th 2018
Bristol Flyers Women claimed an important win against Barking Abbey London Lions II to help solidify second place in the league.
The last couple of months in the regular season have so far been mixed for the Flyers. At the start of February they picked up a close road win against Anglia Ruskin and had a dominant showing at home against Loughborough, in which Emily Short came off the bench and led all scorers with 15 points.
The team then suffered heavy losses to both of their closest league rivals, Southwark Pride and Oxford, but quickly got back to winning ways with a 74-61 win against Lancashire, in which Mai Zilbeti scored an game-high 26 points.
Saturday’s game at WISE opened with a three from Liisa Juul, who moments later inbounded the ball to Fiona Fox for a wide open layup. With the Lions unable to get it done on the offensive end, all the scoring was down to the Flyers early on.
Molly James completed a three-point play to put the Flyers up seventeen without conceding, when Dani Adeyinka made two successive layups to put the Lions on the board for the first time in the game, six minutes in. The Lions scored the last points of the quarter – Yasemin Charles handing the ball off to Megan Sheret for an easy layup – but the Flyers ended the first period of play up 20-7.
The Flyers opened the second quarter with a seven-point run, after which poor shot clock management allowed Barking’s Elizabeth Esan to put up some easy points. Emily Short ended a scoring drought for the Flyers with a long rang two, and Hannah Till added two more to give the Flyers their first twenty point lead of the game. Becky Cantin took care of defence on her way to 18 boards in the game, and this combined effort from the Flyers saw them leading at half time by 37 points to 18.
Fiona Fox opened the second half with two layups in thirty seconds. Dani Adeyinka then broke the streak with a layup of her own. It did not interrupt the Flyers’ scoring momentum though – seconds later Liisa Juul had a fast break two, and there was almost another on the subsequent possession but this time the Flyers could not break Barking’s defence.
Two highlight moves came back-to-back: Emily Short hooking in a shot from short range and Mai going coast to coast and laying the ball up and in. Macy Spinks broke this scoring streak from the Flyers’ with five unanswered points on her own.
With less than two minutes in the quarter Liisa Juul made a corner three and played good defence, forcing the Lions into turnovers. It was a great game for Juul, who finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and ahead of the final period the Flyers still led by a comfortable margin, 52-28.
Barking’s first points in the fourth quarter came from the free-throw line, as they attempted to slow the game down and pick up some easy points. It was a plan that proved fruitful early on, but it was a long way back for the visiting team.
With seven minutes to go, Mai found a triple-teamed Cantin in the paint, who then passed to Sandra Yebdri for a wide-open long range two that hit nothing but net – one of the highlight moments of the game. Later, James was fouled going to the basket, but she got her shot up in time. She missed the and-one, but on the next possession Emily Short was fouled and completed a three-point play, which saw the Flyers go up by 29.
Adeyenka and Silvia Almonte had good looks for the Lions late in the game, but as time wound down the result became beyond doubt and there was nothing Barking coach Karen Burton could tell her players to get them back into it. Hannah Till made the final shot of the game with over a minute to go, and both teams coasted to the end with the Flyers on top by 30 points.
“I’m pleased with the win, obviously there are still areas we can improve” head coach Gareth Till told bristolflyers.co.uk
“At the minute we have a lot of injuries, so we have to make sure we keep players fresh and having a comfortable lead like we did here gives us opportunity to give players more minutes and opportunities to gain more confidence."
“We are thinking a little bit ahead (to the playoffs) but I just want my players fit and healthy, playing well and building momentum. We have a really difficult run of games at the moment and we just want to win every game to try and secure second place.”
With their game against Essex called off because of the weekend’s weather, it all comes down to their final game against Southwark Pride on Sunday 25th February, the winner of which most likely clinching second place in the league and win home court advantage until the playoff final. The game will take place at Brunel Academy at 1:45pm – come down and show your support.
Keep up to date with the Flyers Women as they make their playoff push via their official Facebook page.
Bristol Flyers Women are always on the lookout for new players, coaches and volunteers. Anybody who's interested and committed is always welcome to join the Flyers Family. Contact Flyers Women at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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