Imperials finally net national title
Women's National League Division One Final
Tralee Imperials 53
Oblate Dynamos 24
After so many finals heartbreaks here at the National Basketball Arena, Tralee Imperials were finally on the winning side with a dominating defensive performance that saw them ease past Oblate Dynamos in the Basketball Ireland Women's Division One Final.
It was only two months ago that Oblate Dynamos and Tralee Imperials matched up against each other at this venue for the Senior Women's National Cup Final. On that occasion, Oblate were Cup winners but on Saturday Tralee were looking to settle the score.
It showed in the first quarter as Tralee started the final eager to show Oblate they meant business. Emma Sherwood kicked off the scoring for Tralee and before long they were up by 8 points to 2.
Meabh Barry and Sinead Mackessy scored the majority of Tralee's points for the quarter as Oblate were unable to add to their two points. Tralee dominated the first period demonstrating a hunger for the ball and by the break, they were up 12 points to 2.
It was almost a complete reversal in the second quarter as Oblate stepped up to the challenge.
Georgina McKenna made immediate amends converting a layup within seconds of the start of the period. Oblate went on a scoring streak as they scored 7 points on the run in the early stages of the quarter.
Mid-way through the quarter, Tralee had only scored two points and were unable to respond to the increase in pressure from Oblate.
Oblate were showing their tenacity under the basket, pulling down tough rebounds and scrapping for the ball at every chance.
By the end of the quarter, Oblate had brought it back within five points with Samantha Massey working hard around the basket.
There was a reversal in the third quarter and in the early stages, four of the five Tralee starters had scored. This was a stat that Oblate were unable to match.
Tralee significantly turned the heat up on defence forcing turnovers including shot-clock violations. This spurred on the players and the fans as the noise in the Arena climbed.
Sinead Mackessy had contributed to a period of significant Tralee possession by pulling down 5 defensive boards in the third quarter alone. They maximized these opportunities at the offensive end by executing some brilliant pass and cut plays from the top of the key. By the time they had realized it, Oblate were down by 15 points.
Shortly before the end of the quarter, Emma Sherwood's basket secured a comfortable 17-point lead for Tralee.
No reversal in the final period as Tralee maintained their momentum and Oblate's shots weren't dropping as the ball seemed to be just out of their reach.
Sinead Mackessy was relentless on the boards and also converted several layups to increase her overall point score, which would settle on 19 by game's end. Mid way through the quarter, Tralee had extended the lead to 22 points.
Despite a few late baskets by Oblate, at the final buzzer it was Tralee who took home the Women's Division One final by 27 points. The MVP was awarded to Sinead Mackessy with 19 points and 21 rebounds.
Tralee Imperials: Sinead Mackessy 19, Emma Sherwood 17, Meabh Barry 12.
Oblate Dynamos: Samantha Massey 7, Selina McMahon 5, Heather Meagher 4.