Women’s basketball lose to league leaders

UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 56-65 LEEDS METROPOLITAN CARNEGIE SECONDS
BUCS Northern Conference 2B

Images: Lily Grant

York’s women’s basketballers lost today to league leaders Leeds Metropolitan seconds despite a brave and solid team performance. York kept their rivals in their sights for the entirety of the first three quarters but eventually Leeds Met proved their title credentials to take the game out of sight for the York players.

York started brightly with Gilly Jago equalising after Leeds Met drew first blood. York were holding their own against strong opposition who were playing a very pressing game. Janne Billiet had an exceptional game and in the first quarter demonstrated her excellent rebound skills after Captain Stefania Mataragka was unfortunate to miss two free throws.

York found themselves in the lead thanks to Billiet and Leeds Met called a time out to deal with the 10-3 deficit. The time out seemed to work wonders for the Leeds women as they looked properly into their stride and really pressed hard, demonstrating some excellent steals to rob York of possession.

York continually lost possession and slipped to 13 all despite their strong start. The full court press Leeds Met applied made life difficult for the York team. By the end of the first quarter York were the happier side having contained Leeds to a 13-13 score line.

Leeds Met scored earlier in the second quarter to take the lead for the first time in the game and for a worrying few minutes looked to be scoring freely. York was struggling with the pressing nature of the play and sloppy passes were costing them possession. Billiet provided an excellent shot to keep York in touching distance of their rivals.

Mariya Kovalenko proved that when York play their own passing game what they were capable of when she earned York another two points with a fantastic basket.

A time out from the York team gave them some breathing space and allowed them a chance to re-group. Faye Taylor scored two free throws and Rachel Cryer provided a beautiful shot to reduce the deficit. Then Mataragka broke away from the Leeds Met defence in a stunning counter attacker to take York level. Seconds later Mataragka was at it again with a sensational three pointer to take York into half time 26-23 ahead.

Half time served Leeds Met well as early in the third quarter they caught York frequently in possession again. But York refused to be phased and Taylor scored a brilliant three pointer to keep them in the game. Jago added to York’s points tally but Leeds Met came back strongly to take a 37-40 lead going into the fourth and final quarter.

The game was on a knife’s edge as the players took to the court, Cryer closed the gap with a free throw and then Billiet was there to give York a precarious lead with a two pointer. Mataragka lead from the front again to show that York were still fighting as they found themselves within two points of Leeds with the scores perched precariously at 44-46 with six minutes to go.

Despite Leeds starting to amass fouls, they also started to break away. York once again found it difficult to maintain possession and allowed Leeds to steal on a frequent basis. Eventually Leeds extended a ten point lead but even though the game appeared to be gone Billiet still added to York’s points. As the buzzer sounded Leeds Met recorded a 56-65 victory.

Captain Stefania Mataragka said after the game “It was a good game, they’re at the top of the league but I think we kind of lost it at the end but it was a good game and I’m proud we played like this.” She added, “everyone played really well, it was a team effort, they were pressing us on everything, it was a good, whole team effort.”

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