Mansfield Giants progress in Basketball England National Cup

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It was a tough weekend for Mansfield Giants Women who played back to back away games against Lancashire Spinners, once in the league followed by the Quarter Final of the Basketball England National Cup.

After a difficult week, including venue issues and injuries ruling out player-coach Jo Richards with a reoccurring back injury, as well as influential Guard Chedell Cruickshank missing from the first fixture, Giants knew it it was going to be a tall order.

Saturdays League game was dominated by Lancashire Spinners who took a convincing win, leaving Giants to play smart and conserve their energy in the all important Cup tie the following day.

With the addition of Cruickshank on Sunday, the Giants squad were upbeat and feeling good about their re-match, taking note of the Spinners strengths and weaknesses from the previous game.

Once again it was Steph Jones who opened the scoring with a big ‘and 1’ to mark the first of her 15 point haul with Levitt sinking free throws to take the Giants into a 10-5 lead early on.

However, Spinners fought back to tie the game going into the second quarter which set the tone of the game throughout with just a few points in it from thereon out.

The second quarter was much of the same, with both teams playing physical, resulting in both team showing frustration at various points.

The Giants received a Technical Foul close to the end of the quarter, sending Spinners to the line and allowing them the opportunity to close the three point gap the Giants had pulled away.

But with the Lancashire side failing to capitalise, Giants went into the second quarter with a 27-24 lead.

The third quarter seemed to be on the Spinners side as they took the pace up a notch and came out fighting.

However, as the tension rose, so did tempers as the Lancashire Coach received a Technical Foul, setting the tone for a very competitive final quarter as there was still all to play for.

Despite some strong defence from Franky Harper and the rest of the team, Spinners took the quarter 15-12 as the teams level pegged at 39-39 at the end of the third quarter.

It was time for Beth Weldon to make her mark on the game as she quickly scored a ‘three’ and two baskets in succession, forcing Lancashire to take a time out with Giants edging a four point lead.

This seemed to do the trick with Spinners coming out to score six unanswered points.

However, with their early foul trouble coming back to haunt them, Giants looked to steady shooter Alison Bridge to seal the victory scoring six straight free throws completing the game 56-52.