New-found resilience carries Wolves through but Barking make it one tough battle

PUBLISHED: 07:53 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:48 21 February 2018

Oaklands Wolves' Rachel Morris squeezes through a gap. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

Oaklands Wolves' Rachel Morris squeezes through a gap. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

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A new-found resilience took Oaklands Wolves to a fourth straight win and kept their WBBL play-off hopes alive.

Oaklands Wolves' Tia Freeman. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOOaklands Wolves' Tia Freeman. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The 68-64 success at home to Barking Abbey London Lions was not without its troubles but it does keep the Wolves in eighth spot, the final place available for entry to the end of season showdown.

Things had started superbly at Oaklands Sportzone as the hosts raced into a 23-15 first-quarter lead.

But from there it started to go wrong.

The Lions were level at 37-37 by half-time and took the third quarter to establish a 51-44 lead inside the final quarter.

Oaklands Wolves' Rachel Morris drives to the basket. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOOaklands Wolves' Rachel Morris drives to the basket. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

But suddenly Oaklands were woken from their slumbers and a 10-2 run out them back into a lead they would not surrender.

Laura Milligan had done some of the damage with 17 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.

But it was Rachel Morris who was the star of the show, scoring Oaklands last 11 points on her own, to finish on 15 for the game.

It was tough on the Lions who had one eye on their first win but as Oaklands found last year, winning in the WBBL takes a huge amount of hard work and a little bit of luck.

Oaklands were victims of giving their visitors too many chances, with 20 points for the Lions coming from turnovers but they won the battle at the boards and kept Barking to just one of 14 from outside of the shooting arc.

Coach Lee Ryan said: “It was a difficult game and we lost our way in the middle phase, but the team have a new found resilience that comes from a winning run and we ended the game with excellent execution to get the win.

“We identified this mini series of games as crucial for the playoff hopes and to come through 4-0 is fantastic and testament to the players’ belief and commitment.

“We need to take this winning momentum into a challenging set of games ahead.”

Up next for Oaklands is another home game against the perennial power house Westfield Health Sheffield Hatters who currently sit joint third in the championship.

This one takes place on Sunday with a 2pm tip-off.

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