Caledonia Pride ease into WBBL Trophy semi-finals

Caledonia Pride coach Bart Sengers
Caledonia Pride coach Bart Sengers
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Caledonia Pride are safely through to this weekend’s Women’s British Basketball Trophy semi-finals despite losing to rivals Team Northumbria at Oriam.

Pride held an 82-64 advantage from the first leg in Newcastle last month and never looked in serious danger of relinquishing it. Following a shaky opening quarter, the home side trailed by seven points, but they were soon back on level terms and it was nip and tuck all the way until the final six minutes when the visitors pushed on to win 65-56 on the day. It was too little too late as Cup runners-up Pride progressed to another major semi-final 138-129 on aggregate. They may struggle to reach next week’s final, however, after being drawn to play league leaders Sevenoaks Suns in the last four. Suns have lost just two matches all season and have already beaten Pride home and away.

American centre Tricia Oakes continued her recent sparkling form in the win over Team Northumbria when she contributed 15 points plus a game-high 18 rebounds, while Sarah Thomson added 14 points and Rosie Reynolds supplied six assists. Spare a thought, though, for Northumbria’s Evelyn Ovner, whose 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks were all in vain.

“We did what we needed to do,” said Pride head coach Bart Sengers. “The best thing was that we played a lot of the game with our younger players. For a spell, we had a complete Under-20 team on the court.”

Fifteen-year-old Pollyanna Storie played almost 16 minutes, and the St Thomas of Aquin’s pupil has been making her mark off court too after organising an East v West Under-18 charity challenge to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Boys and girls matches will take place at the Pleasance from noon on Sunday, April 15, with tickets costing just £5.