WBBL Trophy: Back to the drawing board for lacklustre Oaklands Wolves after Leicester Riders defeat
PUBLISHED: 17:26 02 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:28 02 February 2019
There may have been snow and ice on the ground outside the Oaklands Sportszone but inside it was Oaklands Wolves who froze as their WBBL Trophy campaign began with a heavy 94-67 defeat to Leicester Riders.
There were hopes that the distraction from their play-off chase in the league could provide an even bigger boost to their growing confidence and perhaps even some silverware.
But in the end too many in the blue and white vests were off their game and there was a definite air of frustration at the final buzzer.
The same come not be said of the Riders though and with Brea Elmore driving them forward, Holly Winterburn and Kate Oliver punished the home side at the basket.
Oaklands came into the game having four of their last five matches in the league, and in some style too.
And the hope was they could give one of British basketball’s biggest clubs a shock, testing their progress to date against one of the best.
It was therefore a furious head coach Lee Ryan who called the first time-out after just two minutes of play when a lame Wolves failed to come close to what they are capable of.
Shots were regularly off target in the first quarter, a statistic compounded by the fact the red-shirted visitors seemingly never missed and when they did they invariably gathered in the rebound.
Ryan was asking for more attitude and a more aggressive showing from his team and in Dorka Boros they got it.
The tenacious Hungarian international was scrapping for every ball, sometimes on the floor, and her pressure on the basket kept the hosts in touch.
The boss still wasn’t happy as the half closed out but despite the obvious disappointment in the Oaklands performance, Wolves did close a 15-point deficit after the first 10 minutes, shaving four points off the lead by the break.
It gave hope that they could rescue something out of the game in the second half.
However, it continued to be one of those days for Oaklands, who were still creating plenty of opportunities, but not being able to take any of them.
In fact they didn’t land anything until a free throw with five minutes to go in the quarter. By that point the lead had been extended to 55-32.
Again they did show some fight, back-to-back three points had the home crowd on their feet but by the end of the quarter they were trailing by 19.
The fourth quarter was a flat affair on and off the court and the obvious frustrations became more apparent as Oaklands got more and more flustered.
And Leicester made sure their consistency continued through the entire 40 minutes to close out a comfortable win.
There were some positives though.
New Spanish forward Raquel Navarro-Martinez looks a talented acquisition and once she has bedded in, she will strengthen the squad.
And despite the score there were flashes of the fighting spirit and ability that has made Wolves one of the league’s form teams.
They get the chance to show the real Oaklands when they travel to Cardiff Met Archers tomorrow (Sunday) for their second WBBL Trophy game.
Q1: Oaklands Wolves 10 Leicester Riders 25
Q2: Oaklands Wolves 32 Leicester Riders 43
Q3: Oaklands Wolves 47 Leicester Riders 66
Q4: Oaklands Wolves 67 Leicester Riders 94
Oaklands Wolves: Freeman 14, Sarson 8, Pritchard 8, Milligan 8, Harrison 7, Schluter 6, Boros 5, Rustamzada 5, Navarro- Martinez 4, Lee 2.
Leicester Riders: Winterburn 29, Navarro 17, Oliver 16, Elmore 13, Paxton 8, Campbell 6, Ashton 5.