The Newcastle women’s basketball first team debuted its 2016 BUCS regular season with a 30-point victory.
Despite the Knights playing without one of their top returners, injured Noelia Quintas, Newcastle defeated a scrappy St. Andrews team 74-43.
The first quarter featured a tightly-knit game, with the majority of scoring from Newcastle coming from their guards, and St. Andrews using their size to their advantage down low in the post. Guard Courtney Strait scored the first ten points for the Knights to help them capture the first lead of the game and retain it for the remainder of the contest.
"The Knights were able to freely move the ball all game and handled the quickly changing defences with ease"
The St. Andrews squad displayed many different defensive schemes in the effort of stopping Newcastle’s offensive attack. Man-to-man, a 2-3 zone, and a soft match-up zone were all employed against the Knights with little success. The Knights were able to freely move the ball all game and handled the quickly changing defences with ease.
Although the scores in the first and second quarters were closer than the game would appear, the Knights regrouped during halftime and came out firing in the third quarter. Upon the buzzer sounding after the quarter, the lead had been extended from 13 at halftime to over twenty points.
Head coach Mark Elderkin said the focus during halftime was on defence, boxing out, and moving the ball swiftly up the court for fast break points. The quick but undersized Knights team gave up a handful of offensive rebounds and easy buckets that led to the majority of St. Andrews’ scoring up to that point.
"The Knights’ offence was firing at all cylinders for the majority of the game, with points coming from all areas of the court"
During the second half, the Knights used their conditioning to their advantage and were able to score double-digits fast break points. The combination of physicality with St. Andrews post players, a more intense defensive effort, and pushing the tempo of the game all contributed to the Knights’ hefty victory.
The Knights’ offence was firing at all cylinders for the majority of the game, with points coming from all areas of the court. Players Courtney Strait and Eleanor Goodwin both recorded double-digit scoring performances in their first game for Newcastle.
This years’ team is a very different one than last year, and they will have to rely on their ball movement, rely on each player to fulfill their role, and play within their system more than before.
With that in mind, the Knights have a week off to work out the kinks and prepare themselves before their next match-up against Loughborough on 26 October.