Oaklands have to be ready to fight if they want to truly battle the top six says Ryan

PUBLISHED: 11:13 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 17 December 2019

The Oaklands Wolves bench during their WBBL game with Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

The Oaklands Wolves bench during their WBBL game with Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

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Oaklands Wolves need to develop a ruthless streak if they are truly challenge the top sides in the Women’s British Basketball League.

The Oaklands Wolves bench during their WBBL game with Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOThe Oaklands Wolves bench during their WBBL game with Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

Their last outing saw them go down 96-69 at Oaklands Sportszone to one of those teams, Newcastle Eagles.

Oaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan during their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOOaklands Wolves' head coach Lee Ryan during their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

It was a match that promised much, especially when they got into a 30-26 lead early in the second quarter, but it got away from them all too quickly after that as a physical and taller Newcastle found their rhythm.

St Albans' Jocie Leavold in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOSt Albans' Jocie Leavold in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

And the grittier side of the sport is where head coach Lee Ryan wants to see an improvement.

Anneke Schlueter in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOAnneke Schlueter in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

He said: "The first 15 minutes was good. We were competitive, we played our style and whether the shots went in or not we continued to believe in our stuff.

Claire Abbott in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOClaire Abbott in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

"The biggest disappointment was our fight on defence.

Lizzy Harrison in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANOLizzy Harrison in action for Oaklands Wolves in their WBBL game against Newcastle Eagles. Picture: LELLO AMETRANO

"How can we give up so many points to that team in the paint and not have seven players fouled out?

"Why haven't I got a situation where people are fighting tooth and nail to stop teams doing what they want to do?

"If we're going to lose a game of basketball, we might as well go down fighting. It's one those.

"I still haven't found a way to push those buttons with this team although we do have individuals who will do it at times."

And the thing was when they were good, they were very good, one particular play seeing the ball zipped around the court from one corner to another in rapid fashion, a move that had the home crowd on their feet.

To help with the other end of the court Wolves are bringing in six foot two forward Jess Davies, a native of Watford who has been playing in Missouri.

And Ryan hopes her introduction in the New Year will let them kick on.

He said: "We're in games but the way you stay in games and the way you put yourself into winning positions is with good defence.

"We've got a lot of work to do and it's the first thing we need to do in January.

"All the good things that we are doing and all the groundwork we are laying doesn't mean much if we don't play defence and get the stops.

"We really have to start to grind and work and get in the trenches and dig and fight.

"There's a big gap between the top six and the bottom six in this league so if you want to compete with the top six then we have to fight."

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