Cardiff Met Archers 77-70 Gloucester City Queens
Gloucester City Queens dropped their first game of the year as they lost their opening WBBL Cup group match in agonising fashion to Cardiff Met Archers 77-70.
The Queens, who were missing star player Melita Emanuel-Carr due to a knee injury, looked to have control of a match which ebbed-and-flowed throughout when they went into halftime with a 35-33 lead.
However, a second half with frustrating turnovers meant the Queens relinquished their lead before never gaining it back as the Archers went into the fourth quarter up by three.
Despite an inspired Marlee Ball performance worth 26 points, nine rebounds and four assists, the Queens fell short of the mark and will look to rebound to victory against Leicester Riders tomorrow.
It was a slow start for the Queens, a myriad of missed shots meant the Archers were able to create an eight-point lead and looked like they would not relent.
As the second quarter came around however, the Queens were firing on all cylinders. 10 points in the quarter from Ball allowed Jay Marriott’s side to close the gap and eventually take the lead, going into halftime up 35-33.
A back-and-forth third quarter saw the slim lead switch to the Archers’ favour, a lead they would not let go of.
The fourth quarter was much of the same - a close contest but good rebounding from Cardiff’s Shannon Hatch and deadeye shooting from Kim Kheing meant that the Queens couldn’t find a way to close the gap as they had in the first half as it ended 77-70.
After the game, head coach Jay Marriott was pleased with his side’s performance, given their limited squad numbers and the little experience in the squad.
“We’re all competitors so any loss we take, we’ll take it hard, but the reality is we only have five contracted players - we’ve had to survive under circumstances which are hard to accept but I’m proud of the strength we showed today.
“A lot of positives to take away from today, I’m delighted with their heart and effort, a lot of encouraging stuff out there as we move forward.
“All five out there on the floor today should be proud - Layla [Hall] and Inma [Bautista] playing their first time at this level, they really stood up and took the test on well.”
Marriott also spoke about the Queens’ next opponents in the Riders, a squad who were pre-tournament favourites to win Group C.
“When you have these double headers, you have to make adjustments on the fly. They’ve got really quick guards, and they’re very big.
“They’ll probably play with two classic forwards, which is different to what we played against today so it’s about formulating that game plan as we look forward to tomorrow.”
The Queens play the WBBL Cup defending champions Riders tomorrow in their second WBBL Cup group match before heading to St. Albans to play Oaklands Wolves on Wednesday, September 29th.
Written by Oliver Jones.