Scotland Senior Women came into Thursday's game looking to clinch their first win of the Malaysian Association of Basketball Tournament following a tough loss in the final seconds of the game to a Chinese regional side from Shanghai.
Scotland were relatively slow to start the game, allowing Nan Shan to build up an early 9-2 lead in the first 5 minutes of the game. Dee Hayward - who had an impressive 19-point performance the day before - was first to put points on the board for Scotland, making a jump shot off the assist from Robyn Lewis. Erin McGarrachan – who was coming off an equally impressive 14 points in the previous game – was next to add to the score, driving inside for the layup. Nevertheless, Nan Shan kept piling on the pressure and by the end of the quarter the Taiwanese side were up 18-12.
Scotland closed the gap in the second quarter, outscoring Nan Shan 20-18 to round out the half with Scotland trailing 36-32. The Leicester Riders duo of Hayward and McGarrachan continued to play well and finished the quarter with 10 points each.
Scotland came out of the break raring to go as Dee Hayward converted on a three-pointer, followed by a layup by Hannah Robb to give Scotland their first lead of the game. Hayward continued to be a force for Scotland, effectively getting to the free throw line and finishing with 10 points for the quarter. Nan Shan were far from giving up however, as the team’s leading scorer, Tzu-Yin Pan kept Nan Shan in the game, finishing with 27 points for the game. Even after Scotland went up by 8 in the third, Nan Shan were still able to keep the game close, pulling the score back to 54-53 Scotland going into the final period of play.
The final quarter was very much a back-and-forth affair as the lead changed hands on four separate occasions. Nan Shan recovered the lead early from Scotland as Pan made a jumper within the first minute of play. Dee Hayward was not letting up however, as she went on to score the next 11 points for Scotland.
With 3 minutes left in the game, the score was tied at 67-apiece after a made jumper from Nan Shan’s Ya-Tong Shen. Kirsten Simpson then hit a clutch shot from the top of the three-point line to put the Scots up 70-67. Tzu-Yin Pan would then hit a two-pointer to bring the game to a 1-point gap.
Following that, Hayward hit her final shot of the game to give her 33 points for the game and give Scotland a 3-point lead. Scotland would then fail to get a shot off in the final minute of the game, leading to a turnover, of which Tzu-Yin Pan would capitalise on, making another jumper to bring Scotland’s lead to just 1 point. With a chance to take the game, Nan Shan’s Li would miss a jumper allowing Scotland to regain possession and ultimately close out the game 72-71, giving them their first win of the tournament.
The Scotland Women’s next and most critical game will be tomorrow as they face potential Commonwealth Games 2018 opponents, Malaysia at 1.30pm BST. A strong result in this game will be instrumental in our Senior Women’s case for Commonwealth Games qualification.