WOMEN'S NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
Tralee Imperials 90 NUI Galway 76
TRALEE Imperials continued to set the pace in the Women's Division 1 National League with a resounding victory over NUIG at Galway University on Saturday, a win which sees them on the maximum 15points from 5 games and top of the Div 1 table.
In a free scoring encounter Tralee had the greater consistency as a team throughout and scored over 20 points in each quarter to record a memorable victory over a team which relied heavily on American recruit Grechen Gaskin (14), Ailish O'Reilly (22) and Hannah Coen (12). Tralee Imperials had no fewer than 5 players on double figures, with Sinead Mackessy leading the way on 22, followed by Emma Sherwood on 17 and a bang in form Deirdre Geaney on 16.
The opening quarter was tight and evenly contested with Tralee shading it by 5 (22-17) at the break. Playing against a well marshalled zone defence Tralee moved the ball smartly and created clear cut scoring opportunities which Linda Raymond (5)and Aisling O'Mahony (3) took with aplomb from outside the three point arc.
Closer to board Mackessy, Sherwood Clare and Lisa Brennan were making the most of the chances, scoring 14 between them. On defence Lynn Jones was playing superbly on Gaskin, limiting her scoring attempts and keeping her under constant pressure.
The second period belonged to Deirdre Geaney who was at the end of many moves, and made no mistake either in close or on the free throw line, hitting 10 points as Tralee edged the quarter by one, 20-19, to keep their noses in front. Aisling O'Mahony had another three pointer here and 5 in total, as Lynn Jones (3) and Sherwood (2) dominated the frontcourt.
The half time lead of 6, 4236, and the overall play of the first half gave no hint of what was to come in the third quarter, as Tralee outscored the home team by 31-14, to open up a 20 point lead, 73-53, at quarter end. Emma Sherwood created the energy for what happened with her honesty and pace on offence, scoring nine points and creating many opportunities for Mackessy (7) and Geaney (5). Three pointers from Raymond, and Jones (5) was icing on the cake for an Imperials team in full flight at this stage. Defensively the team played superbly with a high pressure which restricted Galway to 14 points, despite the best efforts of Coen and O'Reilly.
Galway hit a succession of threes early in the 4th quarter to reduce the gap to 11, but brilliantly led by Mackessy and Jones, Tralee closed any chance of a comeback with some excellent scores on the break as Galway pressed hard, but to no avail. Imperials won the quarter 23-17 and it fell to Linda Raymond to close the scoring on 90 points with a wonderful drive to the basket on the buzzer. IMPERIALS: S Mackessy 22, L Raymond 10, A O'Mahony 7, D Geaney 16, L Brennan 4, C Brennan 2, L Jones 10, E Sherwood 17 Next up for Imperials is an away trip to Donegal Town in the National Cup on December 8.