Wolves continue to improve despite Wildcats loss as they prepare for BBC showing

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 March 2018

Oaklands Wolves' Tia Freeman. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

Oaklands Wolves' Tia Freeman. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

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It may have ended up being another loss but the 75-66 reverse at Nottingham Wildcats shows the continued improvement being shown by Oaklands Wolves.

Oaklands Wolves' Megan Pritchard. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOOaklands Wolves' Megan Pritchard. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The last time the two sides met in the WBBL was back in December at Oaklands College, the Wolves had suffered a 34-point defeat.

And this was the first time in four meetings that the relatively new St Albans franchise had not lost by double figures.

Injuries to Kata Fulop in the first quarter and Kristina Nagy in the second hampered the Oaklands rotation from the bench and although the first-half deficit was too much to claw back, the Wolves won the second half.

Captain Lizzy Harrison said: “We struggled to find an offensive rhythm today and we made too many mistakes in our defensive scout to hold them early.

Oaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOOaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

“We are showing we can compete with the very best teams in this league but we must continue to work on our consistency if we are going to turn these close game into wins.”

Two big ‘double-doubles’ were key for the Wildcats.

Ashley Harris scored 18 points and snatched 10 rebounds while Onayssa Sbahi got Nottingham going early on, finishing with 12 points and 12 assists.

The hosts were also able to score 23 points from 20 turnovers as the Wolfpack were guilty of coughing up the ball too much.

There were two big turning points for the Wildcats.

The first saw them bag 12 unanswered points in the first quarter to lead 18-5 with Sbahi scoring six straight points in that spell.

And then another run, this time of 11 points in a row in the third quarter, stretched their advantage to 58-39 and gave them enough of a cushion to withstand a late rally.

Rachel Morris top scored for the Wolves with 14 and she was followed by Tia Freeman on 12 and Harrison on 10.

Morris was also top of the rebounds chart with seven, tied with Lauren Milligan.

Oaklands are on the road again this Friday when they go to Sheffield to face the Hatters at the English Institute of Sport.

But anyone unable to make the trip will be able to watch the game live on the BBC Sport channel or via the red button at 5.30pm.

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