|Southampton Sharks Ladies||13||25||44||55||55||Loss|
Strong second quarter performance sees Storm beat strong opposition from the south coast
This was an outstanding performance against as good a team as we have played in a number of years. So it gets a longer match report in the words of Coach Skinner!
There are a lot of aspects to note but I believe the win was built on collective experience and team spirit. They constantly put us under pressure and threatened to get runs going and we showed a lot of self-belief in absorbing that and consistently reacting to it in the right way. Collectively whenever there were mistakes or difficulties I thought we responded with calmness and maturity and never let them knock us out of our stride. Given the lack of opportunities to play against opposition of that standard, to be able to raise our performance that much and play with that confidence was really impressive.
The decision to switch to a defence we rarely use, a 2-1-2 proved to be a success, although I can also see it needs some work and it can be even stronger by the time we meet them again. Offensively I thought we handled the pressure well and mixed it up well finding lots of different ways to score.
The first quarter was very important as they started strongly and all credit to Jenny whose 10 points of our 13 including 6 of 6 from the free throw line (of a personal total of 9 out of 10) was really important in stopping them getting away. From that base we imposed our game on them in the 2nd quarter scoring 22 and winning it by 10 with 14 from Becky and 6 from Auriol with a nice mix of points from inside and out. In the 3rd quarter they kept reducing the gap bringing it down to 2 or 3 points on several occasions. And we kept responding by opening it up again, so we were still 7 ahead going into the final quarter. And in that last quarter, as they began to chase the game we created some better fast break opportunities and Jade did what she does best scoring baskets from the most difficult angles when we really needed them. Then finally we closed the game out well. It is not something we have much experience of doing and over those minutes we did it better and better. The last couple of minutes was particularly good -we showed good control and decision making, worked to find space so we could keep the ball moving and the opposition chasing.
Playing good opposition helps you find out how good you really are and where you can get better. You were very good and I have every confidence we can learn from this game and up our performance further. We will need to, in order beat them again. For now, though everyone should take great satisfaction from what was an outstanding team performance. I am sorry we don’t have stats because everyone played their part and I only have scorers and free throw percentages. For the record Becky scored 26, Jenny 19, Auriol and Jade 8 and Reanna 6 and we made 15 of 20 free shots despite missing 3 of the first 4.
Everyone responded very well to the decisions coach Skinner made about substitutions and the specific things asked of people and that made his job much easier, so thank you all for that.
Those people that did turn up to watch were very well rewarded. It was a really good game.