St Andrews Women’s Basketball first team opened their 2018-19 BUCS campaign against Edinburgh University second team. The St Andrews starting V consisted of Watson, Murray, Tarr, Cominelli, and Corsico. In the opening minutes of the first quarter, St Andrews passed the ball around the court well creating chances. Then Edinburgh began to compose themselves and grew into the game. Edinburgh opened the scoring two minutes into the half with a 2-pointer, before following it up with an excellent 3-point shot. Three minutes in the score was still 5-0 to Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s point guard, Ness, was creating plenty of problems for St Andrews. It was at this point that the Saints coach called a time out, which seemed to kill Edinburgh’s momentum. There was a definite change in play for St Andrews after the timeout. The Saints were all over Edinburgh defensively and were constantly running down Edinburgh’s shot clock. Five minutes into the quarter, Wallace opened the scoring for St Andrews with a 3-pointer. The score was now 5-3. For the remainder of the quarter, both sides attacked well. Murray and Wallace worked tirelessly at the basket winning defensive and offensive rebounds for the hosts. It began to pay dividends as Murray scored a 2-point shot from under the basket. During the final two minutes of the quarter, the lead was constantly shifting between both teams. But in the final seconds, Edinburgh scored to hold the lead going into the second quarter. The first quarter finished 9-10 to Edinburgh.
The Saints started the second quarter positively. Their defence pressured hard and forced errors out of the Edinburgh side. The home team drew first blood in the second quarter. This came through Murray who drove hard towards the net and scored a lay up. But Edinburgh replied with a sharp three-point shot. St Andrews were equal to it, responding with another three-pointer to retake the lead. Credit must be given to Fiona Murray, as during this quarter she scored the majority of the points and was an asset both in defense and attack for the Saints. Gravina for St Andrews then produced a great solo effort to score for the Saints. Edinburgh responded the following play through Cargy. After this score, it was evident that the home team upped the tempo in defense. This could be seen with Jones for St Andrews pressuring the Edinburgh team hard and forcing a pass to go out of bounds. The home team then launched great counter attacks. One resulted in three points being scored. Due to the Saints’ work rate and clinical shooting, with four minutes remaining in the quarter, they held a healthy lead of 20-14. Near the end of the quarter the Saints’ high-intensity defense faltered. Edinburgh scored two 2-pointers in quick succession. Going in to half-time the score was 20-18 to St Andrew.
The away side opened the scoring in the third quarter. But the saints replied, so both teams were level at 22. The hosts’ defense began to show some holes as Edinburgh scored two 2-point shots on the bounce. But the home side bounced back. Good shooting from Murray and Corsico lead the Saints to reclaim the lead (30-28). Throughout the game, Edinburgh had an irritating knack for scoring at important moments. This was certainly true in the later stages of the third quarter. Blair for Edinburgh scored a crucial 2-pointer to keep the score level. With three minutes remaining in the quarter, Edinburgh looked formidable on the attack. An important interception by Corsico prevented Edinburgh from reclaiming the lead. Unfortunately, Edinburgh’s Blair went on to score a big 3 from the left-hand corner of the court. This was followed by another 2-pointer for Edinburgh. The score was now 35-30. Saints’ captain, Maddie Tarr, then scored a 3-pointer from the right hand corner of the court. With a minute left in the quarter, Erika Gravina for St Andrews seemed to have landed awkwardly going for the ball in the opposition’s half. There was a five minute pause in the match so that she could be helped off the pitch and have treatment. It is never nice to see a player get injured in sport, especially this early in the season. Hopefully the injury is not as serious as it first looked, and Gravina makes a quick and strong recovery. Once play resumed, St Andrews made sure they did not squander the quarter’s final minute of play. Then Tarr, who appeared to be quite the 3-point specialist, scored another three points. Edinburgh then salvaged a 2-pointer in the final seconds of the quarter. Heading into the final quarter the Home side held a single-point lead (40-39).
When the final quarter commenced Murray and Tarr proved to be a constant menace for Edinburgh’s defense. The Saint’s failed to profit from these early attacks though. Edinburgh drew first blood in the final quarter. This came through Sierra of Edinburgh converting two free throws. In the previous three quarters the Saints were a very strong unit and chemistry was clearly flowing amongst the players. This seemed to be less evident in the final quarter. Loose passing and fouls proved costly for St Andrews. Edinburgh punished these errors. With five minutes left in the match, Edinburgh had taken a comfortable 9-point lead (49-40). This said, in the final few minutes of the game the Saints seemed to switch back on again. Anderson, for St Andrews, scored a fantastic breakaway lay up. The Saints’ skipper then followed this up with her own 2-pointer. Due to the two players fine work, Edinburgh’s lead had receded to just 5 points with three minutes to go. Sadly, in the final few minutes, every time St Andrews scored the opposition were equal to it. In the final minute of the game Edinburgh converted two free throws to make the final score 57-48.
Overall, as cliché as it sounds, the score line did not reflect the game. For about 90 per cent of the match, it was a tight affair with no team getting a breakthrough. The victory ultimately came down to Edinburgh being more clinical in the final minutes. So the score line does perhaps flatter the visitors. There were great individual performances on both sides and the Saints captain, Maddie Tarr, led by example when she was on the pitch. Equally Fiona Murray was dominant in both defense and attack. For the opposition, Edinburgh’s Sierra put in a very strong fourth-quarter performance and perhaps produced quality shooting when Edinburgh needed it most. The Saints team showed great promise and I am sure they will bounce back and have a strong season. Finally, we wish Erika Gravina a speedy recovery from her injury. The Women’s First team’s next game is a friendly next Wednesday, makes sure you head down and show your support.