Comeback Queens win Double in Canberra
Behind at half time in both games, the Sydney Uni Sparks displayed a lot of resilience and determination to complete the Canberra double with two wins. The Sparks took down the Canberra Capitals Academy 75-73 and claimed victory over the BA Centre of Excellence (COE) 81-76 in overtime. The pair of wins extends their unbeaten win streak to six, on the road. Captain Shanae Greaves was really happy with her team’s efforts over the weekend saying, “This weekend was a real test for us and we definitely rose to the challenge. I am so proud to be part of such a hardworking, resilient team.”
On Friday night, Sydney Uni took on Canberra. Strengthened by the return of Mariana Tolo, the Capitals led the Sparks by seven at half time. However, increased defensive pressure and better execution saw the Sparks outscore the Caps 25-14 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The final quarter of the game was tightly contested, however Sydney Uni were able to hold off the home side to win the game by 2 in a nail biting finish.
All five starters finished in double figures, led by Maddie O’Hehir with 17 points. Both Tahlia Tupaea and Lara McSpadden had double-doubles. Tupaea had 14 points and 10 rebounds and McSpadden had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Shanae Greaves and Susannah Walmsley also added 10 points apiece.
In the second game of the road trip, the Sparks came up against a young and athletic BA COE side. The home team got out to a great start, shooting 67% in the first quarter and continued this form in the second, to lead the visiting Sparks 44-34 at half time. Similar to the night before, the Sparks came out of major break firing. Defensive intensity lifted substantially and their offence flowed as a result. Sydney Uni had no turnovers in the third term and were starting to make the most of each opportunity on offence.
The momentum shifted in the Sparks direction heading into the last quarter. Sydney Uni forced BA COE into 9 turnovers and a 9% field goal percentage in the final quarter, limiting them to just 4 points for the term, to send the game into overtime.
The Sparks started the overtime period well and looked to be in control from the beginning. They outscored BA COE 13-8 in extra time to finish the game 81-76 victors. Assistant Coach Belinda Snell was really pleased with the effort of the team. “After being down by 14 in the first half, the girls fought hard and had some huge possession plays to get back into the game. It was an exciting overtime win to finish the successful road trip,” she said.
Both Tahlia Tupaea and Shanae Greaves were outstanding in the game. Tupaea finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Greaves had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Lara McSpadden had a huge second half with majority of her 12 points coming in the second half. She also added 8 rebounds. Maddie O’Hehir continued her impressive shooting form finishing the game with 12 points.
The Sparks have just passed the half way point in the season. They head into the long weekend break with an 8-4 win/loss record. “To come away with two wins this weekend is so encouraging going into the break,” Greaves said.
“We have been working hard on defence lately and while there is always room for improvement, the hard work really showed as we managed to secure two tight wins over very high quality teams,” she added.
After the long weekend, the Sparks are back on the road. They head back down to Victoria for two tough games against top four teams. The first is against the Geelong Supercats on Saturday 17th June and the second against the Dandenong Rangers on Sunday 18th June.
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