Caledonia Pride hope it’s third time lucky for play-offs

Bart Sengers
Bart Sengers
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Caledonia Pride have produced their best form and results this season in one-off, knockout-style matches and the Edinburgh side must do it again at Oriam this Saturday following back-to-back defeats over the weekend.

Pride had two chances to clinch their place in the Women’s British Basketball League play-offs, but they were unable to take either and must now beat Durham Palatinates in their final fixture to be sure of a top-eight spot.

If they do eventually miss out, they will be haunted by Saturday’s 64-63 defeat by Oaklands Wolves in Hertfordshire after captain Robyn Lewis saw a three-point attempt lip out with just nine seconds left.

The visitors had led until the third quarter, paced by 19 points from US centre Tricia Oakes and 15 from Sarah Thomson, and they gamely recovered from seven points down to level at 55-55 and 63-63.

Victory over WBBL Trophy winners Leicester Riders at Oriam on Sunday would have done the job for Pride, although that was a big ask as they were physically and mentally drained by Saturday’s trip down south.

A storming finish to the second quarter from Beth Mackie and Shawnisay Millar saw the home side trail Riders by a single point at half time, but the gap grew to 11 in the third quarter and they were eventually beaten 63-50.

“It was not ideal having to play Leicester today, but we had no choice really as the game was cancelled earlier because of the snow,” explained head coach Bart Sengers. “We did our best, but next week’s game is even more important now.”

Despite spending only half of the match on court, Oakes contributed 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while skipper Lewis provided eight assists.

Durham’s surprise victory over Nottingham Wildcats kept their own play-off hopes alive ahead of their trip to Edinburgh this Saturday.