Trent put on an excellent display of defence, but despite this Uni of managed to slice through and cause some splash damage.
First Quarter – Trent struggle to take flight
The crowds were quiet, the players were ready. The whistle was blown.
Trent claimed the very first possession from tip-off but shortly lost their possession after a bad turnover leading to UoN getting the first basket of the game.
However, Trent quickly retaliated with a smooth as butter swish three-pointer from number 10, Vicky Gray.
UoN reclaimed a steady lead despite some brilliant blocks from Trent’s number 14, Camille Beriser and number 7, Li Chingman. UoN led the game by one point after a three pointer from Eleanor Bishop, the score was 9-8 to Uni of.
Trent were seemingly stumped by fast, pin-point, passing and ball movement from UoN; and were left pointless for just over two minutes.
Trent’s number 11, Vanessa Da Silva, tried to pull back the deficit with some epic re-bounding, but Trent lost more points due to turnovers and missed shots.
Two free-throws were awarded to UoN in the final moments of the first, with number 14, Chrissie Scott-James, making just one of them to end the first quarter with the score now 19-9 to Uni of.
Second Quarter – Nygilia McClain sets the court alight!
The whistle to mark the start of the second quarter was blown. A height advantage tactic seemed to work, with Trent closing in with some good jumpers and bank shots from number 14, Camille Beriser.
During the second quarter, Trent’s number 4, Nygilia McClain, began to heat up. Cutting through UoN’s defence like a knife, she powered to the basket for a finger-roll lay-up, making the score 26-19 to Uni of.
McClain’s second quarter was increasingly brilliant, with multiple points from some beautiful swish three-pointers – making that four three-pointers made by McClain in the second. After yet another three from Trent, this time number 10, Vicky Gray, the score stood at 31-28 to Trent.
Trent had a perfect quarter, scoring a total of 23 points – the crowd was roaring as Trent finally retook the lead after a slow first half.
Third Quarter – ‘BYRNED!’
The score stood at 32-31 to Trent at the beginning of the third, with some great passing from both sides.
Yet, the shooting execution was off, leading to a slow start in the third.
Four minutes in and neither side had scored, until UoN’s number 8, Rachel Byrne, splashed down a three pointer to take the lead over Trent.
Trent’s Vanessa Da Silva, came from the bench and had seven rebounds, as well as leading Trent’s solid defence alongside Nygilia McClain.
For everyone but UoN’s Rachel Byrne, the quarter was slow and low scoring. Byrne made all of Uni of’s points in the third quarter in a display of expert shooting.
Despite Byrne’s splash damage, Trent managed to keep the deficit to just five points by the end of the third – the score 45-40 to Uni of.
Fourth Quarter – Frustration for Trent
Trent’s crowd became much louder in the final quarter of the game, with chants of “T.R.E.N.T, We are the Trent Army!” echoing throughout the Arena.
Thanks to Trent’s roaring stands, Vanessa Da Silva put down the first basket of the final quarter, closing an ever shrinking deficit. Uni of’s Eleanor Bishop retated with a swish three, but once again Da Silva came through immediately after with another two points for Trent – keeping the UoN lead down to just three points.
Just when the lead looked to be increasing again for UoN after a turnover by Trent, Nygilia McClain bounced into action to block Uni of’s drive to the basket in an outright denial.
With five minutes left, Trent’s stands vibrated from the impact of hundreds of feet, and after another smashing rebound by Da Silva, McClain knocked the see-sawing deficit down to eight.
Trent’s defence then caused UoN to violate the 24 second shot clock, shutting their offence down completely.
Chants of “De-fence!” could be heard from both crowds, in an attempt to out shout each-other.
But it was too late for Trent as the deficit didn’t seem to decrease.
It was a fantastic match, but UoN pulled up and won the game in a display of great passing and shooting – despite Trent’s phenomenal defence throughout the tense and exhilarating game.
The game ended at 62-56 to UoN.
By Joe Locker.