Knights put St Andrews to the sword

After narrowly missing out on the victory against Edinburgh last week, Knights made sure of the win against St Andrews. Courtney Strait reports:

Courtney Strait
21st November 2016
Domination: St Andrews never threatened Newcastle. Image: Leana Tajkov

The Newcastle women’s basketball team took down St. Andrews for the second time this season. The Knights used their speed to wear down the Saints and pull ahead after a slow start in the first quarter and toppled their opponent 83-44.

Besides brief spells at the beginning of the game, it was all Newcastle. The most St. Andrews led by the entire game was three points, which occurred within the first couple possessions in the game whilst Newcastle were finding their feet. Once Newcastle took the lead, it was one-way traffic, and the Knights were able to move the ball from all sides of the court with ease.

Different from the first contest against Newcastle, St. Andrews displayed a soft man-to-man defence on four Knights players while faceguarding one player. Despite St. Andrews’ best efforts, the Knights were able to slice through the defence, attack the smaller Scottish guards, and create scoring opportunities from many St. Andrews turnovers.

Throughout the game St. Andrews also switched to a 2-3-zone defence. At first, Newcastle was tentative to attack the slow-moving zone defence, but after head coach Mark Elderkin called for a change in the offence, the Knights picked up where they left off and poured in the points.

Instead of slowing down and running set plays against the St. Andrews’ zone, Newcastle pushed the ball up the court with pace and attacked the gaps in the defence to find the open player. Overall, Newcastle was able to transition between the two defences without too much hesitation and shared the ball comfortably.

The difference makers in this game came from the fast break and ball movement. Newcastle finished for breakaway points left and right as the Knights’ defensive pressure in man-to-man proved to be too much for St. Andrews to handle. Newcastle scored more than 20 points from long passes down the court and pushing the ball after turnovers or missed baskets.

When Newcastle had to slow the ball down and run the offense in a half court set, they were successful due to their ball movement. The Knights were able to move the ball around the perimeter, run ball screens, and pass the ball inside to post players all game. Every player on the Knights squad scored in the game and contributed to the victory.

“Newcastle pushed the ball up the court with pace and attacked the gaps in the defence to find the open player”

Top scorers in the game were Noelia Quintas, Courtney Strait, and Eleanor Goodwin. Quintas used her length and athleticism to shoot over smaller guards, attack the basket off the dribble, and cut to the basket for easy points.

Eleanor Goodwin was very productive in the post for the Newcastle offence. Throughout the game she tracked down offensive rebounds, sprinted the floor for easy fast-break layups, and hit tough shots with a hand in her face. Strait and Izzy Johns paced the Knights from the perimeter.

In order to prepare for next week’s match, the Knights have many improvements to make. After the match, Coach Elderkin said that the team needs to come into each quarter more aggressive and ready to play defence and follow the team’s defensive rules.

The Knights’ match-up zone struggled during segments in the game and lead to a handful of easy buckets. He also said the defence needs to improve against opposing post players so that they do not get easy position and offensive putbacks against the smaller Newcastle players.

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