This week, the Game of the Week team was in St. Andrews to witness St. Andrews University Senior Women host St. Mirren Senior Women in the SBC league.
St. Mirren came into Friday’s game sitting 4th in the Women’s 1st Division due to having only played 2 games so far in the season. However, in both games, the team had come away as the victors, having handed losses to Glasgow Fever and Glasgow University. As well as this, St. Mirren had also knocked out top-seeded City of Edinburgh Kats and Glasgow Fever so far in the Scottish Cup.
The home team, St. Andrews came into Friday’s fixture siitng second in Division 1 with a 2-1 record. So far in the league, St. Andrews has beaten West Lothian Wolves and Polonia Phoenix but fell at the hands of Glasgow Fever earlier in the season. Glasgow Fever were also the team responsible for knocking St. Andrews out of the Scottish Cup.
After St. Andrews won tip off, St. Mirren quickly jumped out to 20-0 run to start the game. This slow start came as St. Andrews struggled to find their feet on offense. With little to counter to St. Mirren’s tough full court press, they committed a number of early turnovers leading to fast break points for the away team.
St. Mirren were great in the half court set, efficiently moving the ball to find the open player for the best shot available. They were also relentless on the offensive glass, grabbing a number of boards leading to second chance opportunities. After stealing the ball from the opposition, St. Mirren captain and stand in coach for the night, Rebecca Cleary finished on a floater from the baseline, drawing the foul, and sinking the and-1 free throw from the line.
Cleary then went on to score 8 straight points in the first for her team as she forced turnovers on defense and converted on the other end. Fiona Harris also got in on the action in the first quarter, after sinking two free throws, she had a nice drop step on the next possession to lose her defender in the post for the finish.
“Missing 3 of our senior players and our coach, it was amazing to start the game so strong with 20 unanswered points” said Rebecca Cleary after the game. “It was a chance to give a good run to all our squad members.”
With three minutes left in the first quarter, Lilly Wallace hit the first basket of the game for St. Andrews, pulling up from the free throw line and sinking the jumper. As the first period finished, St. Mirren held a resounding 26-4 lead over the home team.
In the second quarter St.Mirren came out with more of the same, keeping up their relentless defense and moving the ball well on the other end. Fiona Murray checked into the game in the second for St. Andrews and scored the first 6 points of the quarter for the home team, each time working her way inside for the finish.
St. Andrews still struggled to keep up with St. Mirren’s tenacious offense for the remainder of the half as they were slow to close out St. Mirren’s shooters, allowing the visitors a number of open shots and leaving gaps in their zone defense which St. Mirren were quick to capitalise on. Cleary would add another 8 points to her tally before the first half came to a close with the score 40-13 in favour of the visitors.
Coming out of gate in the third quarter, St. Andrews had a far better start than in the previous half. They would score the first three baskets of the quarter as Francesca Cominella pulled up from the elbow followed by a layup and a three off the bounce by Caitlin Watson. Despite a better effort on both sides of the floor by the home team, St. Mirren remained relentless for the rest of the game. They would go on to score 40 more points before the end of the game, getting the win 80-41 in St. Andrews.
Rebecca Cleary finished the match with a game-high 25 points with Fiona Harris also adding 13 points. Fiona Murray lead the way for St. Andrews with 13 points.
Despite the tough loss, St. Andrews head coach, Callum Knox still managed to take some positives from his team’s performance;
“I feel like our half-court game was quite good, once we got into the flow of things we seemed to get some options there. With the zone – as we pushed on we communicated a bit more, our back line got a lot better today. That’s something we’re going to look to improve on and work on in the next couple of games.”
In St. Andrews next game, they will host Tayside Musketeers on the 29th October. St. Mirren will play host to Edinburgh University.