Barking Abbey keep Wolves at bay
PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 January 2017
Barking Abbey 66 Oaklands Wolves 63
Barking Abbey’s women made it four WBBL wins out of five with a hard-fought success over bottom club Oaklands Wolves on Saturday.
Abbey made a bright start against a Wolves side which had suffered nine defeats in a row as they led 15-9 in the first quarter.
Imani Whittington (13) and Abigail Johnson (12) combined well in attack as Abbey’s lead grew to 32-19 at the midway point and they continued to dominate to move 52-31 up at the end of the third quarter.
But winless Oaklands rallied in the final period, enjoying a 15-2 run to raise hopes and scoring 32 points in a 10-minute spell, inspired by 20 from Ashton Fleming.
That cut the gap to just a single point as the match drew to a close, but Abbey held on as Savannah Wilkinson scored nine second-half points to finish with 13, with Whittington’s 19 leading the charts.
Victory saw Abbey remain two points behind fourth-placed Sheffield in the race for a play-off place and head coach Mark Clark said: “I’m pleased and relieved to get away with the win.
“We had our best and worst quarters in the season in one game. Credit to Oaklands for coming back, but when we led by 25 we should have managed the game better.
“Imani Whittington had a big impact which really helped. We just through it was game over, which is a huge mistake.”
*Barking Abbey’s Division One women began 2017 with a 55-45 win over Reading Rockets on Saturday.
Abbey dominated the first half, holding Reading to five points in the second quarter, but the hosts responded and reversed their fortunes and held Abbey to just six points in the third quarter to set up a close finish.
Taneka Rubin led Abbey with 16 points, as Megan Sheret scored nine on her return and Wura Ijelu scored eight.
“I’m really happy with the way we started the game,” said head coach Karen Burton.
“First game back after the Christmas break and we got straight into how we want to be for the second half of the season.
“It was also great to have players back who have been out with injuries; Megan Sheret, Milene Gama Vaz and Monique Esbrand.
“We took control of the game early and even though reading stepped up in the third we remained composed and finished with a double digit win.”
Abbey return to action on January 15 at home to Southwark Pride (2pm).
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