Miguel Ortega’s Caledonia Gladiators travelled to Nottingham, facing the winless Wildcats in Women’s British Basketball League action following a defeat in their final EuroCup group stage game last week.
The first five saw Kian Omer-Jones make her first start of the season, whilst high-performance programme player, Alix McIntosh, found her place in the squad for the second time.
To open the outing, only the Gladiators’ second domestic game on the road, it was Kirsty Brown who won the tip-off, leading eventually to a Djeneba N’Diaye pair of free-throws to open the fixture. A poor start from both sides saw a few turnovers, as no field goals were made in the first three minutes. Nottingham’s Mari Stewart opened the hosts’ accounts with a mid-range finish, which got the action going from the floor – with several successive plays finishing in buckets. As expected on paper, the visitors took an early 4-12 lead, forcing a timeout for the Wildcats with four minutes to play. The Gladiators continued to assert their dominance on both ends of the floor, with plenty of well-executed plays. After ten minutes, the travelling side led 11-27, bolstered by 5 steals and 80% shooting from beyond the arc.
The sides traded buckets to begin the second, with Gladiators maintaining their reasonably strong lead, continuing to put on an impressive offensive showing, also forcing Wildcats turnovers. Caledonia continued strong passing play, with 12 assists in just over 15 minutes, expanding their advantage to 25 points. Yevheniia Putra continued her domestic form – with 10 points and four rebounds in just 11 minutes of action. High-performance player, Alix McIntosh, checked in for her professional debut after featuring in the squad in the past two weeks. As the sides headed into the half-time break, Gladiators maintained a strong 30-point advantage, leading 52-22, forcing the hosts to another 11-point quarter.
Nottingham got off to a better start coming out of the locker rooms with high energy, leading the quarter 8-3 after the first few possessions, forcing a couple of turnovers and an eventual timeout for Caledonia. An N’Diaye and-one brought the momentum back to the travellers, as they looked to turn around the weaker start to the period. The teams traded buckets throughout the entire quarter, which was the lowest scoring of the three so far, and the one in which Nottingham proved to be at their best. Alix McIntosh got her first professional bucket with a 3-ball as the Gladiators extended their lead to 32, 37-69 after thirty minutes.
With Gladiators comfortable in the game and undoubtedly preparing to pick up their second victory out of two games on the road domestically, the side continued to dominate and were assertive in the fourth and final quarter on the way to a strong win. By the time of the final buzzer, Gladiators had a 47-94 dub, whilst Wildcats’ struggles in the league continued.
Following an impressive outing of 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist, Kirsty Brown picked up the Gladiators’ MVP, leading her side to victory.
Next up, Miguel Ortega’s side travel to Sheffield to face Hatters on Sunday, with the next home game coming on 17th December, welcoming Cardiff Met Archers to PlaySport. Get your tickets for our Christmas special HERE!