Oaklands Wolves foul up as chance to win opening WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles disappears

Beth Sarson in action for Oaklands Wolves in January 2019.

Brookmans Park native Beth Sarson has returned to Oaklands Wolves after a year with Essex Rebels. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Oaklands Wolves' first WBBL game of the season ended in disappointment as they lost an overtime thriller 91-87 to Newcastle Eagles.

Lee Ryan's side led for most of the contest at the Oaklands Sportszone before foul trouble caught up with them, five players facing an early exit with the hosts being called for 37 infringements in comparison to Eagles' 17.

New signing Greeta Uprus led Wolves with 23 points before fouling out while Amari Carter also suffered from foul trouble but finished with 14. Lizzy Harrison added 11 points before joining her team-mates on the bench.

Coach Ryan was understandably frustrated after the loss, citing first game excitement and nerves as a primary reason .

He said: "It was easy to tell it was the first competitive game in nearly a year for us. None of us were happy with the performance, the game came down to concentration and we lacked it all from start to finish.

"But we’ve got that hurdle out the way and I’m sure the players will settle into the season now and start to show the work they’ve been putting in for the last four months."

Wolves last played competitively in March and have not even had a friendly in the last three months but they started brightly, Uprus opening the scoring with a jump shot and then a three-pointer.

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Carter and Beth Sarson, back at the club after a year with Essex Rebels, also drained from outside the circle but the Eagles kept in touch, holding Wolves to a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

By half-time that lead had been extended to 40-33, another Carter triple and one for Harrison helping, and going into the final 10 minutes there was still seven points in it, Wolves ahead 62-55.

It had stretched out to 10 with just under six minutes to go but Newcastle kept chipping away thanks to the now regular trips to the foul line.

It put them ahead with 40 seconds remaining but three points from Harrison, with 15-year-old Grace Strickland supplying the assist, sent the game to an extra period.

Five straight points from the visitors midway through OT did the damage and although Lauren Milligan, Louise Rouse and Daisy Porter scored for Wolves, Newcastle, inevitably, wrapped up the win at the foul line.