WBBL Trophy: Oaklands Wolves slammed by coach for losing control after disappointing Leicester Riders defeat

Oaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Oaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

A frustrated Lee Ryan says Oaklands Wolves have to “take responsibility for the things we can control” after a hugely disappointing start to their WBBL Trophy campaign at home to Leicester Riders.

The home side were never at the races in the 94-67 defeat, putting in a performance that was way below what their supporters have seen in recent weeks.

And it is that lack of consistency that left the head coach exasperated at the final buzzer.

He said: “The problem with this group, and we’ve seen it over the last few weeks, we can play very well when we focus on what we can do, when we have the right attitude and control the controllable, the things we have to do.

“When we do that we can play very good basketball.

“But the group has too many moments throughout the season where they stop taking responsibility for the things that they can control.

“And as soon as you do that you’re not a performance athlete any more.”

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And Ryan was insistent that even against a team with the quality paraded by Leicester, his Oaklands College-based outfit should be able to compete with them.

He said: “The word expectation can sometimes be a dangerous thing but the quality of our defence today was atrocious.

“There’s no way they should score 94 points, not if we’re playing defence the Oaklands way.

“We should be in situation where even against the best teams in the league it should still be a close game.

“We’ve got the players to do it, we’ve got the quality to do it and I believe in them.

“And I thought we had the confidence based on the run we’ve had but you can’t not show up.

“And as soon as that happens, we abandon the things we do well and then you’ve got no hope.

“Every team will take you apart if you do that.”

Fortunately for Oaklands, they don’t have too long to wallow in their disappointment with their second game in the competition in Cardiff tomorrow (Sunday).

They are the team that Wolves thumped with a record score two weeks ago and Ryan says there can be no repeat of the Leicester performance if they are to win in Wales.

“We’ve got to put a performance in tomorrow and we’ve got to make sure our attitude is right,” he said.

“Just because we turned Cardiff over a few weeks ago, if we waltz in there and think it is just going to happen, we’re going to lose, we’re going to be humiliated.

“We have to regroup, we have to dig in and we have to put in a better performance.

“The only thing for us now is we’ve got three games left in the Trophy to fix this, to get rid of this little part of our team that eats away at us and our performances.

“We’ve also got our new player Raquel [Navarro-Martinez] who got some minutes on court today and will get some more in Cardiff.

“She’s still figuring out what we do and what happens.”