Oaklands need more mental toughness after late charge leaves Wolves short of Lions

PUBLISHED: 12:10 06 January 2019

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Head coach Lee Ryan.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Head coach Lee Ryan. Picture: Karyn Haddon

However, an incredible late charge had the vociferous crowd inside the Oaklands Sportszone believing in the impossible.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves as Lauren Milligan looks on.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves as Lauren Milligan looks on. Picture: Karyn Haddon

In the end they fell just short but head coach Ryan said the end to the game papered over the rest of the performance.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Tia Freeman in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Tia Freeman in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“Whenever you play competitive sport, the first thing you have to do is be you.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“We did that for the first five minutes and yes, they made a tactical change but it was a change we were expecting.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros of Oaklands Wolves holds off London Lions' Teresa Da Silva.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros of Oaklands Wolves holds off London Lions' Teresa Da Silva. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“If that is enough to throw you off your game, then you have no excuses. You can’t complain or look at anybody else.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Dorka Boros in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“You have to get back to what you want to do. The team that plays to its strengths win.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“The end masks over that.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“It’s another hard lesson for our team but it’s another chance to grow and get better from it.”

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Lizzy Harrison in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Shooting let the Wolves down with just 20 points scored in the middle 30 minutes.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Roya Rustamzada in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Roya Rustamzada in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Tia Freeman in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Tia Freeman in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

He said: “That was a surprise as we shot really well this week and felt good after the break.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Megan Pritchard of Oaklands Wolves takes on Loren Christie of BA London Lions.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Megan Pritchard of Oaklands Wolves takes on Loren Christie of BA London Lions. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Beth Sarson in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“It’s another game that’s gone by where we could have got a win.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Megan Pritchard in action for the Oaklands Wolves.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Megan Pritchard in action for the Oaklands Wolves. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“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.

Oaklands Wolves V London Lions - Head coach Lee Ryan.


Picture: Karyn HaddonOaklands Wolves V London Lions - Head coach Lee Ryan. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“We’re good enough to win games in this league.”

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