Taunton Tigers Women extended their winning streak to 7 games to take them to the top of the South-West/Midlands conference of National Division 2 and ensure one of the 8 spots in the National Play-offs.
Mid-way through January the Tigers Women's team knew they would have to win every remaining game if they were to make the play-offs. It was perhaps then understandable that they were a little anxious at the start of the last hurdle against UWIC away, in what was effectively a ‘winner takes all’ game with the losers' season finishing.
UWIC made the best start opening up a 5 point lead as the Tigers Guard's struggled with the early pressure. Taunton typically dug in though and converted their scraps of good possession into points to close at 16 – 16 at the quarter. The 2nd quarter took a similar pattern with Head Coach Ronnie Heath relieved to be able to reorganise at the half only 30 – 25 down.
Tigers owned the 3rd quarter. Taunton's guards began to control the game and find ways to feed the inside players, Emily Farthing( 12 points), Hannah Watkins (9 points) and Laura Dyke (9 points). The ‘big’ players managed to score 30 points between them off limited opportunities and give Taunton real belief they can compete against the best in the play-offs.
By midway through the 4th the outside shooting of Jenny Ridgway (12 points) and Lydia Shaikh (8 points) had helped stretch the lead to 9 points for Tigers and they were able to hold off a late surge to win 55 – 53.
Taunton will have to wait for other results to see who they play in the Championship quarter finals but Heath is confident they can progress.
“Why shouldn't we believe we can beat anyone? We have finished the season as well as anyone. Our defence is as a good as anyone's in the country, we have developed a strong inside game coupled with outside shooting and our guards are fast improving in decision making.”