A rebounded shot from Jess Hunt (pictured) set up Leonie de Jonge's second basket of the dayDevarshi Lodhia

University of Cambridge 48

Loughborough 2nds 44

BUCS Midlands 1A League, University of Cambridge Sports Centre

Cambridge University Women’s Basketball Club (CUWBBC) edged out Loughborough University Women’s Basketball 2nd Team 48–44 in a tense mid-table encounter at the University Sports Centre on Wednesday evening.

Coming into the match on the back of an emphatic 70–58 victory over relegation candidates Anglia Ruskin University Women’s Basketball Club in the Cambridge derby, the Blues lived up to their billing as pre-match favourites despite having a severely depleted squad.

Cambridge captain, Leonie de Jonge, set the tone for her performance in the rest of the match as she scored twice inside the opening minutes, taking advantage of a rebound from Jess Hunt’s shot with to score her second to give Cambridge a 4–0 lead. Loughborough were right back in it just over a minute later, with their own captain, Princess Adeogun scoring from a free throw and taking advantage of Cambridge indecisiveness in the middle of the court to successfully intercept a stray pass and score into an unguarded net to make the score 4–3.

De Jonge continued to torment the Loughborough defence, first scoring two free throws, before scoring again after turning her marker with a nonchalant drop of the shoulder. Frustrated to have fallen to an early 11–3 deficit, it appeared as if the Loughborough team were content to disrupt Cambridge’s rhythm through a series of cynical fouls, although the manner in which de Jonge was sinking her free throws quickly forced the Midlanders into a change of tactics.

While Loughborough managed to reduce the deficit through a number of well taken chances, their cynical defensive play was still evident as Chan Chu Yin clumsily bundled into the back of Herta Gatter as she was about to shoot. Gatter successfully scored on her second free throw attempt to leave the score line 16-11 as the first quarter drew to a close.

The second quarter for the most part mirrored the first, with all of Cambridge’s positive attacking play being channeled through the irresistible de Jonge while the Loughborough team had to resort to feeding on the scraps of Cambridge possession. When she wasn’t scoring herself, de Jonge was setting up her teammates, with an incisive pass finding Palomi Navarro who scored a routine lay-up as the Blues opened up a 24–15 point lead. It was Loughborough who finished off the first half the stronger though, with three scores in quick succession before Logan scored for Cambridge with the final shot of the half to give the Blues a 32–21 lead.

While the first half was characterised by free flowing, dynamic attacking play, especially from Cambridge, the second was a much tetchier, cagy affair as neither side managed to properly assert themselves and take control of the match. Despite a number of clear-cut chances, Cambridge only scored once in the third quarter as tiredness was seemingly taking its toll on the Blues team. Loughborough did, however, manage to close the gap on Cambridge, scoring three times as the scoreboard read 34–27 as the game entered its final stage.

Cambridge are now guaranteed third place in the BUCS Midlands 1A LeagueDevarshi Lodhia

Both teams managed to find a second wind in what turned out to be a breathless final quarter of basketball. Navarro was penalised in the first minute for swearing and Loughborough took advantage, scoring from the subsequent free throw to cut Cambridge’s advantage to just six points. De Jonge continued her rich vein of form as she scored yet again while Becky Illingworth scored the first three-pointer of the match as the Blues seized the initiative.

As soon as it appeared one side was in the ascendancy, the other would mount a miniature comeback as Adeogun and Chan Chu Yin ensured Cambridge did not pull away, with the latter scoring a particularly well taken three pointer of her own.

An especially dramatic final minute which saw both teams concede penalties and Adeogun score a three-pointer, was ultimately settled by a free throw with only five seconds on the clock from the composed Mie Monti to settle the game at 48–44.

Speaking exclusively to Varsity after the match, coach Amalio Fernandez Pacheco saw the positive side of what should have, in all honesty been an much more comfortable win: “It was not a pretty victory but it was a victory so we have to be happy.”

Up next for Cambridge is an away derby against Anglia Ruskin for city bragging rights, although if their last encounter is anything to go by, they have a great chance of painting the town blue.

Cambridge: P. Navarro, C. Rios, H. Gatter, J. Hunt, L. de Jonge, B. Illingworth, E. Lees, M. Monti, L. Logan, C. Gomez

Loughborough: T. Milnar, C. Chan, M. Caruna, S. Barry, P. Adeogun, C. Algere, H. Demirel, M. Grosvenor, M. Jones, T. Wallace, E. Ioannou

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