Glasgow University Women’s Basketball team outfought and out-thought an aerially superior Queen Margaret University side (QMU) in a crushing display, as they ruthlessly dismantled their Edinburgh rivals 72-25 in a performance that sent out a message of clear intent to their league opposition.
Noe ‘the pocket rocket’ Llamas, one of Glasgow’s most prolific players, orchestrated proceedings with a display of such vivid creativity and energy that it gave the sparse crowd something to cheer about on a brutally cold night at the Kelvin Hall.
Anyone fooled by the Spaniard’s diminutive stature were soon overawed by her tactical astuteness, as time after time she tore through the QMU’s disjointed and disheartened defence. In a virtuoso performance, she top-scored with 20 points, twice hitting from 3 point range, In a victory she described as a “cheering up match,” following the gruelling loss to major rivals Stirling in the league opener.
For all of the QMU’s advantage in the air, they seemed unable to handle the Glasgow defensive hustle, and unable to match the intensity of the home squad’s aggressive pressure, as time after time the sheer physicality of Glasgow’s rear guard saw the visitors squander promising possession.
The match precedent was set early on as captain Carlyn Wallis smashed a block in against the towering figure of QMU’s 6ft plus point guard. It was an all-round performance from Wallis, who chipped in with 10 valuable points, whilst the fierce nature of her defence saw the QMU reduced to optimistically shooting from long range in a bid to stem the black and gold tide.
Whilst the QMU lacked any cutting edge, Glasgow began with such speed and dynamic pace that they raced into an early ten point lead. Sinead McCarthy caused the early damage with a dizzying array of skills around the hoop.
By the end of the first quarter, illusions of escaping Kelvin hall with a famous victory were all but over. Glasgow saw twenty points go unanswered, whilst it was left for the QMU to chase the shadows of the far more inventive outfit.
Any chances of QMU revival were dashed by the clinical nature of the University performance; attacking with confidence and purpose, whilst in defence, they restricted an intimidating opposition front line to a meagre nine points in the first half, as they opened up a thirty-one point lead by the interval.
One cause for concern was the sloppy nature of Glasgow’s third quarter, as they very much took the foot of the gas. By this stage they were coasting and comfortable, yet the worry must be that against sterner opposition Glasgow’s big players cannot afford to go missing.
After a short break and a focus talk from the co-coach, the effects seemed instantaneous; a team rejuvenated. GU returned with the same vigour and purpose that had been intrinsic to their first half dominance. The team quickly stepped through the gears, producing breath-taking basketball that blew away their dejected opponents.
With the match sewn up, Llamas took it upon herself to inject some vibrancy into the game. It was in this vein that she started to unveil her catalogue of outlandish trickery, perhaps most audaciously with a bewildering pass around the back that saw Morna Hill repay the compliments with an acrobatic dunk into the unguarded net.
After the match, Howtoun talked of her pride in the team’s stellar performance, “it was a brilliant team performance out there tonight,” she then went on to talk optimistically about the upcoming league season. “The team we’ve played tonight won last week against Strathclyde so really we can’t be in better shape.”