Oaklands need more mental toughness after late charge leaves Wolves short of Lions
PUBLISHED: 12:10 06 January 2019
Lee Ryan was not happy with a lack of mental toughness shown by his Oaklands Wolves' side as they started 2019 with a 59-56 defeat at home to Barking Abbey London Lions.
A fine opening to the WBBL game saw them race to a 16-7 lead but with five minutes to go they trailed 53-36.
However, an incredible late charge had the vociferous crowd inside the Oaklands Sportszone believing in the impossible.
In the end they fell just short but head coach Ryan said the end to the game papered over the rest of the performance.
He said: “In 2018 we had some disappointments with injuries and situations with our squad but I thought we’d gone past the stage where we lose our identity.
“Whenever you play competitive sport, the first thing you have to do is be you.
“We did that for the first five minutes and yes, they made a tactical change but it was a change we were expecting.
“If that is enough to throw you off your game, then you have no excuses. You can’t complain or look at anybody else.
“You have to get back to what you want to do. The team that plays to its strengths win.
“The end masks over that.
“You can say it was great spirit and we came back but where is that spirit in the seventh minute of the first quarter? It’s equally as important then as it is at the end.
“It’s another hard lesson for our team but it’s another chance to grow and get better from it.”
Shooting let the Wolves down with just 20 points scored in the middle 30 minutes.
And it wasn’t that they didn’t have their chances but Ryan put that down to the mental side of the game as well.
He said: “That was a surprise as we shot really well this week and felt good after the break.
But if you’re not doing the things you’re used to, you don’t have the same rhythm and you won’t have the same success when you are shooting.
“It’s another game that’s gone by where we could have got a win.
“I’ve lost count now. That could be five or six games and in spite our situation and squad make-up we still should be dragging ourselves to wins and building our season.
“We’re good enough to win games in this league.”