Glasgow Fever made the short trip to Paisley to take on Division 1 table toppers St Mirren in SBC Women.
It was an even start for both teams early on as they traded baskets, only for Rebecca Cleary to stroke home a long 3 and follow it up with a slash to the basket to give the home side Saints an early lead. Former Scotland youth internationalists Khera Ross, Fever, and Kayleigh Sellar, Saints, both checked in to add some youth intensity to the game. Paired with Cleary, the defensive hustle was evident. However, Ross drained a 3 for red hot Fever to force Saints Coach Chris Cleary into a timeout as the gap was cut 11-9.
Fever’s Simpson got the second period underway with a huge block on St Mirren’s Maddie Ingemarsson. Defence was the theme as the game hit a stalemate for 4 minutes, despite everyone’s best efforts.
Ross broke the deadlock with a corner 3 in her defender’s face, which Simpson followed up with another huge block. Forcing turnovers only made the Fever bench louder as the atmosphere grew inside Lagoon, Burns racing down the floor on the fast break drew a roar.
St Mirren ignored the loud bench as they banked in back to back 3’s to push their slender lead out and close out the half, 22-16.
Fever opened the 3rdquarter red hot while shooting, closing the gap early on behind makes from Ross, Duff and Burns. While defence was the theme before the half, offence was on the cards in the early goings of the 3rd. Fever had closed the gap to 3, only for Anna Mitchell to be a saint and sink a 3 to reaffirm St Mirren’s slender lead. A fast paced end to the penultimate quarter saw St Mirren hold a 5 point lead, 41-36.
The final quarter started not as a basketball match, rather a battle of the benches as both sets of substitutes became as loud as they could. Africa Chinedu De La Morena added to the Saints roar as she battled for the ball on the ground and came up with a neat little pass to Nicole Davidson.
Within a blink of an eye, Fever has crawled within 2 midway through the final quarter. Khera Ross hit another long shot that was ruled as a 2 with her toe on the line, tying things up. With Cleary and Ross trading a further pair of baskets, St Mirren had regained a tight 3 point lead going into the last 2 minutes.
Fever’s Kirsty Semple was keeping Glasgow within 1, responding to every St Mirren basket with one of her own. Simpson stepped up and made a tough layup off (44) assist with 38 seconds left to give Fever a 52-53 lead.
Rebecca Cleary stepped up to the line for 2 with 16.8s left and split the pair, making the second and tying the fixture. Timeout Fever.
Duff beat her defender and made it to the basket for an and-one, but missed the freethrow. 53-55 to Fever, this was icing to the game for Fever. They came, they saw, they conquered St Mirren.
Fever Head Coach Stacey MacDonald said in the post game interviews,
“I’m pleased with our perseverance today! We knew it would be a tough, physical game but the first half wasn’t a great performance at all for us; we struggled to score consistently and gave up too many rebounds. We kept our composure though and executed better in the second half, which made the difference.”