MAXOL WIT WILDCATS 65 -
DCU MERCY 53
Maxol WIT Wildcats Cathy Kavanagh was in great form on Saturday last as she once again scores for her side. Photo: Noel Browne.
Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League
Maxol WIT Wildcats produced one of their best performances for many a year when they defeated one of the Super League favourites and reigning cup champions DCU, Dublin 65-53 at the Mercy Sports Hall on Saturday night last.
A packed house got right behind their favourites right from the tip off and the players responded to their every encouragement finishing the first quarter in front 20-15. Scores had been exchanged in the early stages but two massive three pointers from American Alyssa Velles proved significant. The second period matched the high quality basketball of the opening quarter but gradually Wildcats defence got on top with team captain Sinead Deegan and American Jazz Walker running the show. Indeed Walker notched up nine points in the closing stages prior to the break to see her side lead 32-22. Steph O’Shea and Cathy Kavanagh were also magnificent under the boards rebounding every breaking ball at both ends of the court.
During the break one wondered could Wildcats keep up this superb performance and their concerns were eased when Sinead Deegan hit a big three pointer and seconds later stole the ball to drive the length of the court to lay up for two more points. DCU hit back with some excellent baskets to keep in touch before a brace of scores from the menacing Helena Rohan left Wildcats leading 50-34 with the final quarter to play.
One sensed DCU were going to throw the kitchen sink at Wildcats to try and save the day and right from the restart they did just that with a full court press which resulted in turnovers allowing DCU to cut Wildcats lead to eight points with seven minutes to the final buzzer.
Once again a combination of Deegan, Walker and Ruthie Leavy steadied the ship and Wildcats were soon back in control. Late scores from Rohan and Meabh Maher gave Wildcats their first win over DCU for some years.
BIG WIN FOR WILDCATS
There was a lot to get excited about this Wildcats performance, especially their team spirit and the overall quality of their basketball which had many highlights such as the athletic rebounding of Steph O’Shea plus the outside threat of hot shot Alyssa Velles. Spirits will be high in Wildcats camp now and what a difference a week makes as they were easily beaten by Kildare side Liffey Celtics just seven days prior to this big win. The return of Jazz Walker after injury made a big difference and while Cathy Kavanagh and Sinead Deegan are not 100% fit yet they still managed massive contributions to this victory. Wildcats now have a two week break before they welcome NUIG to the Mercy Sports Hall and the break will be welcomed by a number of the players as it will give them valuable time to reach peak fitness.
MAXOL WIT WILDCATS: Sinead Deegan (Capt) (9), Kate Hickey, Helena Rohan (9), Alyssa Velles (9), Debbie Ogayemi. Ruthie Leavey, Meabh Maher (2), Allyson Caggio, Jazz Walker (12), Cathy Kavanagh (12), Steph O’Shea (11), Ellen Graham. Coach Dimitris Zacharias. Assisted by Jillian Hayes and Trish Nolan.