Oaklands Wolves give Sheffield a battle on WBBL debut
PUBLISHED: 08:47 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 08:47 13 October 2016
Oaklands Wolves fell short on their Women's British Basketball League (WBBL) debut losing 85-58 to Westfield Heath Sheffield Hatters at Oaklands College - but there was plenty to take heart from.
Hatters were always going to be a tough opponent for your opening WBBL game.
They won the league and play-off double two years ago while they were edged into third last year.
And in Georgia Gayle they have last season’s young player of the year.
And along with new signing Brittany Wimborne from NCAA outfit University of Alabama, the pair helped put on 45 points for the Hatters.
But it wasn’t all one-way traffic.
Sheffield had raced into a 23-17 lead after the first quarter, with Wolves skipper Kyla Nelson keeping her side in touch with 13 of the home points.
But having slipped to a 10-point deficit early in the second quarter, Oaklands recovered to level things up at 29-29 after a three-pointer from Amber Charles.
Sheffield did wrestle control back and went in to the half-time break leading by nine but the Wolves were keeping themselves in touch, just seven points adfift midway through the third quarter.
However, the Hatters showed just why they are perenniel challengers in the final quarter running in 30 points against a tiring Oaklands.
Nelson finished on 22 points for the Wolfpack with Charles chipping in with 13 and Naomi Turner six.
Nelson said: “I’m really excited about where we are as a team right now. We competed while being shorthanded and we are only going to get better.”
They are back in action at Oaklands on Sunday with a WBBL game against Manchester Mystics.
That follows a road trip on Saturday to Cardiff Met Archers in the WBBL Cup.