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Blues show character to beat Worcester in the home opening game

Cambridge vs Worcester

31/10/2018

By Cristina Gómez

Blues show character to beat Worcester in the home opening game

 

Final Score: 54-51

Location: Cambridge

Squad: Carla Ríos, Cristina Gómez, Mie Monti, Drew Chateau, Saffron Hicks, Claire Ratican,      Annie Lyons, Becky Illingworth, Aicha Massrali, Nadya Pohran, Nicola Duffy.

 

 

Wednesday evening, Cambridge University Sports Centre. 30 minutes on the clock start to count-down the time until tip-off. Worcester, the visiting rivals, begin to warm up. The Blues fall into their lines and begin their own routine. They know it by heart, it's easy, it feels good. They're playing at home this week and you can tell.

 

The whistle blows and the game begins. Posts Claire Ratican and Nicola Duffy establish their dominance on the paint early on, overpowering Worcester on both ends of the court. Guards Becky Illingworth and Carla Ríos join in the offensive flurry and a late bucket by Aicha Massrali caps off a fantastic 17-10 first quarter in which 5 different Blues players contributed to the score. The team looks good on the court and the crowd that has gathered to support them appreciates it.

However, the second quarter saw the visitors bring their A-game. With a full court pressuring defence, they managed to break the Blues rhythm on offence who only scored 8 points in this quarter. Additionally, slow movement on defence on the home side allowed Worcester to get to the free-throw line a few too many times, as well as getting guard Mie Monti in early foul trouble. On the wrong side of an 8-17 partial, the Blues find themselves 2 points down at half time.

 

The game starts again and the Blues go back to their initial strategy: get the ball to the posts. Although successful for few minutes, Worcester quickly adapt their defence and the Blues are thrown off again. 2 three-pointers by the visitors place them ahead half way through the quarter at 32-27. Then, captains Carla and Becky show up big time. 2 three-pointers and a field shot by Carla, accompanied by 2 more points from Becky get the Blues right back in the game, to start the final quarter with a 2 point lead.

 

10 minutes to go in the game. Again, Becky combines with Claire and Nadya Pohran to keep a steady flow of baskets adding to the Blues score, who manage a 6 point lead with 2 minutes left in the quarter. However, an unexpected aggressive press defence from the visitors causes a turn over and the gap is down to 3 with still 1 minute left in the game. A fantastic steal on an inbound play sees Mie Monti add 2 easy points and despite a 3 pointer made by Worcester, the Blues keep their cool and Becky Illingworth closes off the game with a final jump shot.

 

Knowing that this was a must win for the Blues (now 1-2 in the BUCS Midlands 1A League), the Blues showed their ability to maintain their composure and perform under pressure. Coach Alex was very proud of the team, aware that they have successfully overcome a very important challenge, and winning at home is vital to remain among the top teams of the League.