UNIVERSITY OF YORK 44
UNIVERSITY OF HULL 51
A battling display from the York women’s basketballers saw them push Hull all the way in a semi-final clash. The onlookers were treated to a very entertaining spectacle as the York team showed a lot of fight against a bigger and more physical Hull side. They eventually lost out 51-44 but they played attractive basketball throughout and can count themselves unlucky to have not reached the final.
Hull won the tip and got their scoring on the way with the first basket coming from Hazel Gittens. A nervy start forced York captain Lydie Mariutto into calling an early time-out which seemed to do the trick as it was followed by Liu nailing a shot from outside the key and a great drive and finish by Kate Smith to bring it back to 9-4. The turn-around was almost complete as York pushed on at the end of the quarter and began to deal with the half-court man defence employed by Hull much better. Mariutto remaining calm under pressure sunk her two free-throws to mean York entered the second quarter trailing by only three points.
York failed to sustain their tight defence in the second quarter and gaps began to appear in the key which the Hull team capitalised upon. A number of careless offensive errors were also costing the York team with Janne Billiet twice giving the ball away, although she did make up for it with a fine shot in between the two. As Hull’s Gittens scored one of the easiest baskets of her life after being left unattended beneath the basket, York were being forced to score their points via more spectacular efforts. Christin Kirchhuebel making the beloved “swish” sound with a long range effort. A time-out called towards the end of the quarter saw York trailing 24-14. York once again picked up the pace though, with Smith and Billiet scoring a quick-fire double, before Smith scored again right on the half-time buzzer to make it 28-20.
York’s offensive movement improved in the third quarter and they got off to a good start with Mariutto leading by example and converting both her free-throws. The physical presence of the Hull side was also making itself known though as they won the majority of the rebounds, with York not boxing out effectively on defence. A succession of fouls on York’s Kirchuebel also saw her head to the free throw line and she managed to convert three out of four of her efforts. As the noise on the sidelines increased so did the excitement on the court. An amazing end to the third quarter began with Kate Smith grabbing a basket and then Janne Billiet securing a great defensive rebound. Billiet then scored again this time with a classy jump shot. With seconds to go Mariutto brought York back to within three points of Hull as she stole the ball and ran down the other end to finish with a lay-up.
Unfortunately a disastrous start to the final quarter saw Hull pull away and end any chances of York making it to the final. Emi Katoh and Kelly Francis of Hull both scored early baskets as York failed to finish off their chances. Kate Smith however did have a fine last quarter as she scored the majority of York’s points to round off a fine individual display and to help York mount a spirited attempt to get back into the game late on. Hull’s Kelly Francis finished the games scoring as the buzzer went with the final score at 51-44 to Hull.
Captain Lydie Mariutto summed up the game by suggesting how proud she was of her players for “fighting until the end” against a team that was “a bit bigger and more physical” and despite never being in the lead she was pleased that the team “never gave up.”