Caledonia Gladiators took their shortest road trip of the Women’s British Basketball League as they took on the Newcastle Eagles at Vertu Motors Arena. The two sides battled it out, as the Gladiators took home a win to East Kilbride from the Teeside.
In the opening quarter of the clash, it was the Gladiators who dominated. Fielding a strong starting lineup, they got off to a fast start with Yevheniia Putra leading the charge. An early 7-0 run gave them the lead, with impressive defense and key plays from the side extending their advantage as the period continued. The quarter ended with Gladiators firmly in control, leading 25-11, highlighted by a last-second basket from Newcastle’s Zoe Willis keeping them in the game.
In the second quarter, the sides managed to trade buckets for the first few minutes, as Gladiators’ few turnovers to begin the period limited their ability to expand upon their earlier-gained lead. Halfway through the period, with five minutes to go until half-time, Gladiators were doubling the Eagles’ points, with the score sitting 16-32. Both sides continued to trade bucket-for-bucket as Caledonia searched for their 50th point before the locker room break. An and-one play by Erin McGarrachan sent Chloe Gaynor to the bench on two fouls, as the Eagles struggled in the category with two players on three fouls in the first half. After twenty minutes of play, the Gladiators remained 19 points ahead, leading 27-46.
At the half, Miguel Ortega’s side led the way in the majority of statistics. Perhaps the one that told the story, however, was turnovers. Gladiators had only turned the ball over 5 times compared to the Eagles’ 13, leading to 11 points from turnovers from the travelling side.
The third ten-minute spell was opened by two back-to-back three-pointers from Courtney Clasen and Laken James for their sides respectively. After a timeout call, another James three fell – giving the Scots a 20-point lead once again. The score differential remained the same, as Gladiators continued to remain comfortable, and Eagles remained fighting as the teams traded buckets despite the heavy lead for Caledonia. At the end of the quarter, after advancing a fair amount despite the Eagles’ best looks and efforts other than lapses in concentration, the Gladiators led by 30 points – 40-70.
With ten minutes remaining, it was all but the Gladiators’ game as they rotated the bench – completing a 12-player rotation once again with the addition of Chantelle Handy. Caledonia continued to expand upon their advantage – scoring consistently and having strong defensive plays – with the side on the search for at least 90 points in the game, potentially looking to match last week’s 99 against the other Northeast unit, Durham Palatinates. Despite their comfort in the game, the Scottish side were struggling with fouls – Kirsty Brown heading to the bench on 5 with 7 minutes to play, and Eagles heading to the free throw line with the bonus just three minutes into the fourth. Upon the final buzzer, it was the Gladiators who picked up a comfortable win on the road – taking home a 49-90 victory back to East Kilbride.
Gladiators’ men’s side play tomorrow, 29th October, against the Leicester Riders at home in our Halloween Spooktacular! Get your tickets HERE.