Caledonia Pride head coach Bart Sengers has revealed what he told his players when they were in danger of throwing away their place in the end-of-season Women’s British Basketball League play-offs.
The Edinburgh side trailed Durham Palatinates 39-33 at half-time at the Oriam Centre before rallying to win 73-70 as they secured their top-eight spot. The deficit had grown to ten points at one stage, but Pride drew level with ten minutes remaining and crucially scored the first eight points of the final quarter to lead 68-60.
“I told them to get their heads clear and stop thinking about the end result,” recalled Sengers. “You play the moment, each and every time. They also had to do a better job rebounding and win more hussle plays. That, with some offensive adjustments, seems to have worked. It was a great team effort.”
American duo Tricia Oakes and Rosie Reynolds both made a huge contribution, scoring 17 points each, while Oakes also grabbed 12 rebounds and Reynolds added eight assists. “Captain Dependable” Robyn Lewis played almost 38 minutes of the 40 to steer her side home, and teenagers Sian Phillips, Shawnisay Millar and Pollyanna Storie all gained valuable experience for the future.
Results elsewhere left Pride in seventh place in the final WBBL standings, handing them a daunting quarter-final this Sunday away to league runners-up and Trophy winners Leicester Riders. The Midlands club has lost just twice all season and beat Pride by 13 points at Oriam last weekend, and by 22 on their previous visit to Leicester last October.
“It’s going to be a tough game for us, but so would playing (league champions) Sevenoaks Suns,” shrugged Sengers.