Wolves win Women's National Basketball Trophy

PUBLISHED: 10:47 24 February 2015

Oaklands College

Oaklands College

Archant

A youthful Oaklands College Wolves converted their perfect season into silverware with a 73-54 win over Oxford City Hoops to land the Women's National Trophy.

Organised defence and a balanced scoring effort were the foundations on which the victory was built, as 19 points and nine rebounds from Kyla Nelson paced Oaklands in a game during which they never trailed.

The Wolves were quickest out of the blocks, with two free throws from Nelson capping a 7-0 opening spurt. Oxford’s Ella Joines replied with her team’s first eight points, but Oaklands’ Vicky Gray caught fire from behind the arc to give her side a 23-17 edge after the first quarter.

Following some effective play from Nelson and another Gray triple, Oaklands widened the gap to 13. Hoops made brief inroads, with Anne Delextrat setting up Stacey Thompson on several occasions, but Oaklands’ determined guard Beth Sarson eventually found the net, her first make in nine attempts, to put her team up 44-30 at the half.

Sarson got the ball rolling with the first score of the third period, but both teams struggled to add to their tallies as tiredness seemed to set in. Oxford edged the quarter 12-11, with Abigail Young’s persistence inside keeping their hopes alive.

Oaklands had other ideas, with Sarson opening another quarter with a score and her team forcing a number of turnovers from an increasingly jaded Oxford side. Zoe Littlechild and Mel George led the Wolves’ concerted efforts to crash the offensive boards, while Nelson continued to rack up the points.

A nice pick and roll between Oxford’s Delextrat and Young was answered by a similar play at the other end between Nelson and Paige Robinson, before a pair of Sarson threes in the left corner rounded off a solid 73-54 win for Oaklands.

Nelson’s effort earned her MVP honours, backed up by 16 points and eight steals from Sarson, 14 points from Gray and a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds by George. Oxford were led by 17 points from Joines, with Young adding 16 and nine rebounds. Thompson’s 12 points and 18 rebounds made her the most efficient player on the court, but it will be scant consolation in defeat.

Oaklands coach Lee Ryan said: “The key for us today was that we came out strong. We started aggressively and did a really good job of maintaining a high tempo.

“Oxford are a really good team, but the girls did a great job defensively and did it consistently across the forty minutes. We’re very young but we have a lot of national team junior girls in our academy. This win proves that we can compete no matter what level we’re playing at.

“Kyla was deservedly MVP for sure. She played on one foot having injured herself at national team camp last week. She did a really good job of controlling the tempo and imposed herself on the game offensively very well. It would be amazing to see what she can do on two feet in a final.”

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