Another positive display as Outlaws welcome champions

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Senior Women’s England Basketball League Division Two North

Ilkeston Outlaws 38

Stockport Lapwings 81

Ilkeston Outlaws’ senior women continued their progression with another good performance at home to Stockport on Saturday.

Despite being defeated it was another highest score for the hosts whose confidence and ability is growing with each match.

They welcomed current National Division Two champions Stockport Lapwings to the Kirk Hallam Community Technology and Sports College last Saturday, who had beaten Outlaws the previous week on their own patch with just seven players.

On Saturday they had a strong five but made seven with two youngsters, albeit both junior internationals.

Outlaws were able to put out a full squad for the first time this season and produced their season’s best performance.

A depleted Stockport still opened with a strong five including Kathy Dean, virtually unstoppable the previous week. Her speed and accuracy was beyond Outlaws’ ability to stop.

Mary Gannon opened the scoring for the visitors but Sophie May and Susan Hawes quickly replied.

Already Outlaws were showing the benefit of extra training since the senior mens’ move to Kirk Hallam this month, and the 1-3-1 offence was being played with confidence and creativity.

Lucas, Collins and Gannon put Stockport ahead 8-4 in the fifth minute but two good free throws by Hawes and a close jump shot by Helen Oakes brought Outlaws level after seven.

Stockport stepped up the pace for a while and their speed to the basket and ability to slash drive through the smallest gaps caused Outlaws problems.

The home side didn’t score again this period but Stockport ran the ball and found their range from outside to end the first period up 19-8.

They ran in another five unanswered baskets in three minutes to open the second stanza.

Outlaws were only able to reply with another two free throws from Hawes,to give her 100% from the line – another first for Outlaws.

Sharon Hickson sank an outside jumper as did Demi Drew but Stockport continued to pull away.

The teams turned around with Outlaws 14-39 behind but there were signs of tiredness in the visitors and Ilkeston clearly had lots to come.

In the third quarter Outlaws’ good approach work was at last rewarded with points as they put in both their best quarter and quarter score of the season.

Emma Chambers opened it with a midrange shot from a well constructed attack.

Stockport had a flurry to take them to 45-16 but with most of the team weighing in with scores Outlaws stayed with them for most of this quarter.

Emily Braisby took the first of four great rebounds in the game. Her drive to attack rebounds at both ends and one wonderfully powerful put back would win her the Most Valuable Player award from her team mates.

Free throw shooting was the bug bear in this quarter. Unable to follow Hawes’ example five were missed and in a 15 - 21 quarter that was expensive.

Stockport changed to a zone for the final quarter and although they played reasonably well Outlaws did not attack it with the flair they showed last week.

However, they did reach their highest score of the season with 38 points. Scores have crept up every week since the New Year which is their major target.

Hawes ended her scoring with a three to take her to nine points and Claire Brudenall and Chambers got the final baskets to take them to 38.

Dean was a handful all game and her 21 points led Stockport to a decisive win but this was still Outlaws’ very best performance in all respects.

Outlaws scorers: Susan Hawes, 9, Emma Chambers 6, Helen Oakes and Claire Brudenall 4, Catherine Atkins, Sharon Hickson, Donna Bishop, Emily Braisby 2, Natalie Lebeter 1.