The UEA female basketball team, the Panthers, are prowling through their season with ease, as a convincing win on 11 February showed. The Panthers participate in two leagues and this fixture saw them facing their toughest rivals in the local league – the Saints.
The Panthers competing at Derby Day 2012. Photo: Greg Mann.
Having beaten this team just a week before by thirty points, it would have been easy for this strong team to go into the game somewhat apathetically. Yet, from watching the Panthers warm up, one could see an evident hunger for a further win to be added to their undefeated season.
Despite having won the tip, the opening two minutes of the game saw no score from either side, each executing different but powerful defensive strategies. However, the Saints began to score and after two quick baskets from the opposition, UEA coach Mark Surridge called a timeout in the hope of getting the Panthers back on track. This proved to work to the Panthers advantage as they began to score more from strong drives on the inside initially with less emphasis on outside shooting. The first quarter ended at 10-10 with lots of work to be done.
With the opening of the second quarter came the awakening of two features that have been making this team so strong all season – the fast break and a lively man to man defence. The duo of Jemma Gordon and Smita Ramma saw the influx of three impressive drives in quick succession giving the Panthers the momentum they needed. Outside shots began to drop including two three pointers from different players helping them to end the half ahead by fourteen points, with the opposition only having scored one basket in that quarter.
The second half gave the Panthers a chance to showcase a powerful squad as a whole, as several new players stepped onto the court and maintained a solid lead. The Saints had changed to a man to man defence in the hope of shaking up the rhythm and became consistent in screening on offense, making it clear that the fight wasn’t over yet. But despite this, the Panthers were able to adapt and successfully penetrated the defence for drives including four in a row, each by a different player, ending this quarter 43-22 to UEA.
Going into the final quarter no starters were on the court for the Panthers but aggression from both teams was still at a high with the Saints scoring two baskets straight away. In spite of this, the Panthers convincing lead was maintained until the end, with a final result being 55-36. The slow start and strong re-occurrence of threats from the opposition showcased the UEA Panthers good attitude of staying calm and playing their own game. They will definitely need this going into the next few weeks; their impressive season will be tested as they go into the semi finals of the BUCS Midlands Conference Cup against Northampton tomorrow.
Women’s Basketball remain top of their BUCS League, remaining undefeated so far this season. They will hope to continue with their 100% record as they look set to be promoted this season.