2019 is already sure to be an exciting year for Edinburgh University and City of Edinburgh Kool Kats after semi-final victories set up an all-Capital Scottish Cup final on February 3.
And, on a weekend entirely devoted to women’s basketball, Caledonia Pride posted their first win since October by defeating Essex Rebels in Paisley.
Cup holders Edinburgh University continued their defence of the trophy with a 55-37 victory over Glasgow Fever in Milngavie.
An injury to star American guard Raquel Pederzani led coach Donnie MacDonald to field two 15-year-olds, Jannike Marshall and Rose Harvey, plus 16-year-old Pollyanna Storie in his starting line-up. The students led 27-16 at half-time, but their lead had been cut to just five points entering the final quarter. A determined finish saw them ease home 55-37, with Storie and Dori Lansbach both scoring 18 points.
“Fever have been having their strongest season in the league, but our defence was very strong from the outset and we were able to pull away in the last quarter,” said MacDonald.
Kats have an opportunity to add the Cup to last season’s league title after beating Falkirk Fury in Saturday’s second semi-final at Portobello High.
Coach Ben Gunn’s side lost a crucial league match to Lady Rocks the previous weekend, but it was virtually game over by half-time on Saturday as they led Falkirk 38-17. Fury’s late rally trimmed the winning margin as Kats prevailed 66-51.
Tracey Phillips led their scorers with 16, while three others reached double figures. “I was really pleased with our performance, but there’s still work to do,” warned Gunn.
In the British Women’s League, Caledonia Pride ended a five-game losing run and boosted their chances of making the end-of-season play-offs when they overcame WBBL rookies Essex Rebels.
Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre was the setting for Pride’s previous win in late October, and the venue inspired them again as they raced to a 47-26 half-time lead. Rebels enjoyed their maiden victory last week and closed to within just eight points, but Pride accelerated away again to win 71-55.
Tia Weledji contributed 34 points - 22 in the first half alone - while Sian Phillips added 11 points, ten rebounds and four assists.
“We played a great first half but missed some easy lay-ups in the third quarter,” explained head coach Bart Sengers. “But we pulled away again and professionally won the game.”
Pride are now up to seventh place in the league but face the ultimate test this Sunday when they travel to Kent to play unbeaten league champions Sevenoaks Suns.