Youngsters shine as Mansfield Giants’ women’s team bag their first win

JO RICHARDS -- the Giants coach was delighted with the performances of the youngsters in the team.
JO RICHARDS -- the Giants coach was delighted with the performances of the youngsters in the team.
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A sterling performance earned Mansfield Giants’ ladies’ team their first win of the new season in the Women’s Second Division North of the National Basketball League.

With eight of the ten-strong squad contributing to the scoreline, Giants never looked back after taking the lead from the tip-off and they sailed home 70-33 against league newcomers Barrow Thorns.

The experience of the Giants’ side helped them out of the starting blocks with an eight-point unanswered haul. Barrow struggled to contain the speed of guard Chedell Cruickshank, who dropped in seven of her 11 game points in the first seven minutes. And the young blood of the team stepped up right from the off, with 17-year-old Darcia Fitzpatrick-Long adding to the scoreline as the quarter finished 19-5 to the home side.

The second quarter continued in the same vein, with Giants’ new forward Gabby Durant stepping in to dominate inside and 14-year-old Lucy Woodward taking to the court for her first National League game. The 6’ tall centre worked tirelessly before dropping in her first points in an adult fixture, working well with the experienced Charlotte Levitt to create further looks at the basket.

Giants went into the break with a 37-13 lead and although Barrow battled back, capitalising on the hosts’ complacency, the outcome was never really in doubt. The sharp shooting of Beth Wheldon got Giants back on track as she racked up a huge tally of 19 points. Levitt ended up with 14, and player/coach Jo Richards 11. Richards said “I was so proud of our youngsters. They had a real impact on the game.”