Scots cause heartbreak for spirited Toon

Despite a first rate performance against Edinburgh, Newcastle couldn't edge the favourites.

Courtney Strait
21st November 2016
Newcastle were unlucky to lose out in a tight game against Edinburgh. Image: Courtney Strait

Newcastle women’s basketball team dropped a tough game to Edinburgh Wednesday by a final score of 74-75. The game featured lead changes, late game drama, and unfortunate heartbreak for the Knights.

The Edinburgh team, who came into the game with a handful of injuries to key players, did just enough to outlast the Knights in the final five minutes of overtime. They mixed different defenses to keep Newcastle on their toes and prevented them from getting settled into the game’s flow until the third quarter.

Edinburgh switched between a zone defence and man-to-man all game, and thus the Knights struggled to keep possession throughout the match. Newcastle turned the ball over more than 20 times Wednesday.

The first quarter started slow, with both teams struggling to get into any rhythm offensively. Courtney Strait hit the first bucket of the game and finished with 11 points in the first quarter. Newcastle found the majority of their success in their half court offense and finding gaps in the Edinburgh zone defense.

The first half also featured a three-point shootout from Edinburgh. Newcastle started the game playing man-to-man defence, and then switched to matchup zone at different times throughout the game.

Edinburgh took advantage of the match-up defense and seemed to hit everything they shot in the first half. They built a 16-point deficit at one time during the second quarter.

Along with sharp-shooting from the Scots, they dominated the offensive glass, bringing down more than 15 offensive rebounds against the smaller Knights squad. Newcastle managed to work the score back to a ten-point difference before the buzzer sounded for halftime.

The second half was a different story for the Knights. Facing a ten-point hole at the half, Newcastle came back fighting and closed the gap in the third quarter. The Knights adjusted their offence and found open looks possession after possession in the third and were slowly building momentum.

“Along with sharp-shooting from the Scots, they dominated the offensive glass”

Contributions from Beth Wilson, Eleanor Goodwin, and Noelia Quintas helped the team pull closer to Edinburgh. Eventually in the final quarter, Newcastle took the lead and looked to have hold of a victory in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

That is when the momentum shifted. With around 1:15 left to play and the Knights with possession, an intentional foul gave Edinburgh two free-throws and the ball. The Edinburgh forward hit one of two free shots and then followed with a bucket on the next possession. After a questionable no-call on the other end of the floor, Edinburgh charged back with another three points to tie the game and force overtime.

In the overtime period, the score bounced back and forth between the two opponents. The final five minutes was a physical, intense bout as both teams faced foul trouble and were desperate to claim a victory.

The final ten seconds of the game were as dramatic as they come. Edinburgh had the ball as the clock wound down, and as the Edinburgh point guard drove in for the last shot, an unfortunate foul was called in Newcastle that led to free throws. Edinburgh hit one of two, which ended up being all they needed to close out the game on top.

The Knights gave a valiant effort, coming in as the underdog in the game, and left disappointed with a win that slipped through their grasp. Newcastle looks to bounce back against the University of St Andrews next Wednesday, 16 November.

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