Cup Magic: Warwick destroy Derby to move into last eight

Shingi Mararike watched Women’s Basketball coast to one sided Game of the Week victory over Derby 

Star Performer: Angela Torres Noblejas– Her Derrick Rose-esque drives to the hoop were key in keeping an already overmatched opposition on their heels.

Location: Sports Centre, Main Hall

Warwick Starting 5

Claire Wood (capt)

Anne Antoni

Alex Lord

Hannah Wilson

Ruoting Peng


[dropcap]W[/dropcap]arwick Women’s Basketball moved into the quarter-finals of the Midlands Conference Cup with a resounding 57-28 victory over Derby. A devastating second half display saw the home side hold their opponents to just 9 points after the interval. Following a competitive opening quarter, it became quite clear Derby lacked the depth, energy and fitness to cope with Warwick. The Bears drew on strong home support, both on the courtside benches and up in the rafters, to put on a performance that at times resembled the BUCS version of a basketball clinic.

Before the opening tip, one thing was remarkably obvious: Warwick were dwarfed. Derby brought to the Sports Centre a physically imposing starting five in order to win the game with bruising basketball, good work in the paint and not much else. A tactic that backfired spectacularly as the game unfolded and their one dimensional approach was exposed. If Derby weren’t built for speed, Warwick certainly were. From the opening play in the very first quarter, they looked to spread the court with superb ball movement and intricate passing patterns whilst on the attack. Behind some slick work on the fast break Warwick moved into a lead they would never relinquish. Guard Alex Lord burst through the lane to drain a lay up, putting the home side ahead. As much as their first quarter display was characterised by energetic offensive basketball, Warwick’s work on the defensive side of the floor left a lot to be desired. A weakness further illustrated by the fact Derby’s first points on the scoreboard came courtesy of a 3 pointer off an open look. The visitors may have lacked speed on the break, but they were just about sticking with Warwick, keeping the score 16-9 at the end of the first quarter.


Tellingly, as the first 10-minute frame drew to a close, the visitors were already panting. Warwick’s decision to start small paid off as their drives to the basket and dribbling wore down Derby, who seemed sluggish. Their fatigue was only compounded by the introduction into the game of Angela Torres Noblejas. The sight of the Spaniard slashing to the hoop, confounding defenders with blinding would soon become the defining image of the contest. Collapsing under the weight of Warwick’s versatile attacking play Derby called a time out with 6:56 remaining in the second quarter as they fell further behind.

This brief halt to proceedings didn’t help much, as Warwick moved into a 24-18 lead off the back of well varied offensives that included a well taken 3 pointer by captain and veteran forward Claire Wood as well as clever work in the post by her partner in the frontcourt Anne Antoni who finished with a game high 16 points.

Then came half time. With slack defence still an issue, Warwick coach James Raddon, who had been left exasperated on the side-lines, pumped up his side. After the game Woods explained his team talk: “A lot of their players were catching the ball and didn’t do much with it. He said at half time go to the player because if they’re not going to go around you, you might as well go to them and that’s when our intensity increased.” All hands in and cry of “1-2-3 Warwick!” before the buzzer sounded signalled the opening of a second half that saw Warwick pressuring Derby ball handlers at every turn, hounding their opponents and forcing a number of turnovers.


Not only were they meaner at the defensive end of the floor, the Warwick attack; already rumbling along with clockwork like efficiency in the first 20 minutes, hit overdrive. The second half opened with Antoni draining an impressive 3 pointer, as well as Alex Lord and Ruoting Peng both scoring to move the Warwick lead into double digits. Noblejas meanwhile, was frequently setting the the Derby defence alight, a menace whenever she picked up the ball. The games most memorable moment saw her steal an errant pass and explode up the court, athletically finishing at the basket. With 5 minutes 10 remaining in the final quarter, a time out was called, a pause that was greeted with a rapturous applause by those in attendance. With the job effectively done Warwick continued to the control the pace of the game in the final stages to wrap up the victory.

Their reward? A last 8 clash against league leaders Anglia Ruskin who tamed The Bears 64-42 earlier on in the month. Underdogs perhaps, but who knows, if Warwick play with the same intensity they did in the second half against Derby, they could channel the magic of classic cup run and keep their dreams of glory alive.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.