Queens continue perfect start to inaugural season with 71-76 win over Palatinates

Gloucester City Queens continued their perfect start to their inaugural WBBL Championship season with a 71-76 victory over Durham Palatinates at the Sports and Wellbeing Park.

Team GB star Melita Emanuel-Carr led a spirited Queens fourth quarter comeback, with her 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists being key to victory.

Down by six at halftime, the Queens would eventually lead the Palatinates by the start of the fourth quarter, outscoring Durham by 11 points in the second half.

The win makes it two wins from two for the Queens this season as they look ahead to their next game against Manchester Met Mystics next weekend.

The first quarter seemed to go in a flash with both teams running the ball quickly up and down the court - both teams’ high pace play saw some great back-and-forth action with the Palatinates taking a 19-16 lead.

A slow start for the Queens after the break, however, saw the Durham advantage grow to 13 halfway through the second quarter but a spirited Queens fightback meant the gap was just six as halftime came with the score at 39-33.

Coming into the second half, the Queens needed to keep up with the pace of Durham and managed to close the gap even further. At numerous points, it was a tied game, but Durham still managed to hold on for a two-point lead as the quarter ended 52-50.

However, it wouldn’t take long for the Queens to grab their second lead of the game - a go-ahead three-pointer from Inma Bautista gave the away side the edge just 23 seconds into the fourth quarter.

As the game winded down, a backcourt violation from Durham’s Ellie Hutchinson with 20 seconds left meant Bautista could drain two clutch free throws to extend the Queens lead to four, with the game eventually ending 71-76.

After the game, head coach Jay Marriott was thrilled with his side’s performance and the way they bounced back from a slightly sluggish first half.

“I’m really happy with how the game went, to be this far away from home against a really tough Durham team and come away with the win is great.

“A lot of confidence to take away from that, a lot to learn as well, but we managed the journey well and we overcame a little bit of a slow start in terms of the gameplan.”

Marriott was also aware of the tough game ahead of the Queens next week but highlighted his squad’s readiness as a key reason for their 2-0 start.