After the disappointment of falling by a mere 3 points the previous week, Taunton Tigers Women hoped to ‘kick start’ their season when they entertained fellow strugglers Bristol Academy Flyers at their Wellsprings lair. Flyers, like Tigers, have had mixed fortunes at the start of the season and both sides were looking to establish a return to winning form as they entered this game.
Unlike the previous week, when Tigers got off to a tremendous start, it was a sluggish first quarter by the girls. After getting the first points on the board, Tigers were off the pace at the defensive end and straight forward pick and rolls by the Flyers were presenting the opposition with easy scoring opportunities as they hit 8 unanswered points in 3 minutes. Tigers who struggled to get their zone offence functioning well throughout, were picking up unnecessary fouls at the defensive end as they trailed 10 – 4 at the end of the quarter.
The introduction of a very lively Emily Farthing at the beginning of the second quarter sparked Tigers into action. Emily appeared to be dominating all parts of the court, as she quickly grabbed a brace of baskets and made another 2 points from the line to pull the girls level, and then grabbed a series of turn-over balls to set Tigers running on fast breaks as the Emma Gough, Hanna Byrne, and Hannah Watkins hit 11 unanswered points to take the lead going into the break at 23 – 19.
A big 3 pointer by Lydia Shaikh and a fine lay-up by Laura Dyke strengthened Tigers grip on the match, but the introduction of the fast breaking Marshall by the Flyers was increasingly starting to hurt Tigers as, against the run of play, a succession of speculative shots by Flyers dropped in numbers. Worse was to come for the girls as they picked up harsh fouls (which on another day would have been adjudged offensive fouls) at the defensive end, enabling Flyers to return back into the lead at the end of the quarter 34 – 32.
Early scores at the beginning of the last quarter eased Tigers into a short-lived 36 – 34 lead, but the tide turned quickly in Flyers favour as the refereeing calls increasingly went their way and 8 trips to the line eased them into a 6 point lead with 2 minutes left on the clock. A final time out by Coach Joe Mills sought to redress the balance, but it was to no avail. Tigers, now deep in foul trouble and desperate for the ball, allowed Flyers to the line again to take the game 50 – 40.
Tigers' manager, Jim Hartston commented after the game,
“This is a disappointing result for us which has, once again, left us with little reward for the exceptional efforts put in by all the team. Looking on the positive side, we made a great comeback into the game in the second quarter and played some of our best basketball of the season.”
“Turn overs were down greatly on previous weeks; we won the rebounding battle at both ends of the court; and for the first time this season our shot numbers and options were about what we should be expecting. On the negative side, our failure to convert dominance in these areas into points on the board hurt us today, as good looking shots failed to drop at our end, whilst ugly looking shots dropped consistently for the opposition. Hopefully it was just one of those games which we will have to put behind us and look to improve our performance and our results in the coming few weeks.”