No fairytale finish as Caledonia Pride miss out on play-offs

Natalie Bastian top scored for Pride
Natalie Bastian top scored for Pride
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There was no fairytale finish to Caledonia Pride’s debut campaign in the Women’s British Basketball League as they narrowly missed out on the end-of-season play-offs following a 76-57 defeat by Team Northumbria in Newcastle.

Pride needed to win on Friday night to retain any hope of securing the final spot in the play-offs, and after finishing strongly to beat Manchester Mystics last Sunday, the early signs were promising at Sport Central. Hannah Robb’s three-pointer put them in front at 11-10, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Consistent scoring from Alison Gorrell, who top-scored on 25 points, put the home side ahead by ten at the end of the first quarter and by 16 at half-time.

It was effectively game over at 64-36 entering the final stanza, and although the Edinburgh team lived up to its name and “won” the concluding quarter 21-12, there was never any realistic prospect of pulling off what would have been a truly epic comeback.

Natalie Bastian led the way for Caledonia with 19 points, while Sarah Thomson added 16, as they completed their debut season in ninth place with a record of five wins from 18 games.

“We were under a lot of pressure and didn’t play that great, to be fair, but Northumbria played it smart and deserved their win,” said Pride head coach Bart Sengers.

“It was a tough pill to swallow, but the girls did a tremendous job this season. They’ve worked hard and become more professional, and that’s very promising for the future. We’ll bounce back, prepare this summer and come back stronger next season.”