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BASKETBALL - CUWBbC vs University of Birmingham

The Blues blew Birmingham out of the water in their game on Wednesday night. After a long journey to the away match, their determination prevailed and they won decisively with a final score of 63-30.

Cambridge definitely hit the ground running with a three pointer from captain Michelle Quay in the first minute, her first of many throughout the game. Consistent attacking of the basket from Cambridge combined with relentless pressure on defence limited Birmingham to five points in the first quarter. Cambridge guard Mie Monti’s hard drives to the basket and excellent post moves from all the “talls”, in particular player- coach Leonie de Jonge, left Cambridge with a comfortable 23 points at the first break. Cambridge’s three quarter defence clicked well with both their playing style and grit.

Unfortunately, Cambridge rested on their laurels during the second quarter and lost the intensity that had previously secured them possession and baskets. Sloppy passes combined with Birmingham’s high defensive style led to a swing in momentum and a couple of easy baskets for Birmingham. They then hit their stride and started nailing shots. Luckily the Blues withstood their “purple patch” and headed to the benches relieved at halftime.

The third quarter was set to be pivotal for the match. The Blues regrouped at the halfway mark and started the third with a basket in the first minute. Molly Lewis exploited her speed and athletic ability to run the court and this in addition to patience on offence resulted in a flurry of baskets from Claire Ratican. Súil Collins’ strong presence under the boards earned many points to her name as well as extra possessions for the team. Team morale was lifted as the Blues quickly regained their stride.

The game was by no means over going into the last quarter - it was vital Cambridge maintained their focus to secure the win. On point free throw shooting from Becky Illingworth kept the scoreboard ticking over, and despite Birmingham’s unrelenting ball pressure the Blues really pulled away in the fourth quarter. Tatjana Brenninkmeijer showcased her excellent shooting skills and secured 8 points for the team. But the game was undoubtedly won on the back of defensive sweat. Lizzie Good showed no mercy and her hard work paid off with steal after steal from her, Cristina Gomez and Soracha Henderson.

The great team effort, shown through the balanced score sheet, as well as individual skill and ability resulted in an excellent win that left the blues optimistic looking into the next week of training.