Glasgow Women 60 - University of the West of Scotland Women 78
Glasgow Women’s Basketball Club were beaten by a travelling University of the West Scotland team on 19 February in a thrilling game between the two sides. While Glasgow looked dominant for the opening minutes of the first quarter, UWS dealt with GU’s early pressure superbly, turning the home side's positive momentum against them through clinical counter-attacking which reduced the points gap time and again.
This was my reintroduction to basketball, having briefly played as a point guard in school a long time ago, I was not as familiar with the rules of the sport as I used to be. But with a strong home crowd who weren’t afraid to get behind Glasgow, it was fair to say I wasn’t in the dark for long. In fact, GU had seemingly brought their ultras for the game. They were consistently vocal with chants of “Let’s go Glasgow! Let’s go!” and “Defence! Hustle!” to support the team and give them a much-needed boost in their pursuit of a crucial victory against UWS. The travelling UWS team were not bothered by the Glasgow ultras and the opponent's home advantage. Distraction tactics from the ultras, banging on the metal shutters that I was sat up against (which aimed to put off the away team) proved to be futile. Much of the game was dictated by UWS’s clinical free-throws, whilst Glasgow, despite their best efforts, struggled to score with the consistency and efficiency that their opponents displayed.
As the first quarter ended, it became an uphill battle for Glasgow. Despite some excellent counter-attacking, UWS began to dominate the game, building a 12-point advantage as the first quarter ended: Glasgow 17 - UWS 29.
The travelling players were rotated when their energy levels dropped in order to maintain the intensity of their game. Rolling subs meant that each player on either side was given a chance to make their mark on the game, notably Glasgow’s number eight, who was determined to drag her team back into the game; at times it looked as if she had to do it single-handedly and in my eyes she was player of the match. However, UWS showed that by rotating their players at regular intervals they could maintain the intensity of their playing style, keeping a tight defence and using it as a springboard to push forward in search of lengthening their lead. Counter-attacks were launched at break-neck speed and UWS were scoring with ruthless efficiency. GU were reluctant to change their players and by the end of the match the team looked visibly drained in comparison to their opposition.
With the second quarter beginning, the home side had every chance to pull themselves back into the game, and at points it looked as if they may draw level. Spells of domination from Glasgow looked to have UWS on the back foot, and the small vocal crowd did their best to cement GU’s newfound hold on the game. It wasn’t to be, and Glasgow didn’t have their shooting shoes on, often missing chances and UWS taking the rebounds, using them to show off their counter-attacking prowess and to build a sizeable lead. This lead was cemented when a time-out was declared with 2:51 on the clock. Glasgow were sitting on 29 whilst UWS had 47. The time-out allowed the home team to regroup, their defensive shape saw a drastic improvement, and it looked as if they had weathered the worst of the storm.
More shenanigans from the Glasgow ultras were starting to influence the free throws taken by the UWS players. At any moment I was expecting flares to go off and a huge tifosi to be unveiled in support of the home team, but the ultras stuck to banging the metal shutters instead. As the second quarter ended the scores sat at Glasgow 36 – UWS 51. The gap had shrunk somewhat but the close of play for the second quarter seemed almost cruel for GU. Their momentum was stunted and from there UWS cemented their lead on the game.
The final two periods of the game were, unfortunately for Glasgow, much of the same. Bursts of team cohesion and strong defensive work were undone by an inability to score points needed to overtake the travelling side. Three counter-attacks were launched by UWS which completely drained the Glasgow team as they took their chances decisively. The away side were consistently ruthless on the break and as the period ended with a score line of 45 - 68, it was all but over.
More of the same occurred during the final period of the game, despite an excellent three-point basket for Glasgow which gave a bittersweet ending to the game. UWS were content in defending at their end of the court in numbers and maintaining an excellent defensive shape which frustrated their opponents. The game petered out, ending at 58 - 76 to the away team.
UWS left Glasgow with a win and a job well done. But GU can hold their heads high having played well. They certainly went down fighting.