RECAP: 2016 Women's Division One Playoff Final

RECAP: 2016 Women's Division One Playoff Final

  • Mar 19,2016
March 19th, 2016

Women’s Division One Playoff Final:
NUIG Mystics 79, Fr Mathews 61
The Watershed, Kilkenny

NUIG Mystics pulled off a historic treble with victory in the Basketball Ireland Women’s Division One Playoffs at the Watershed, Kilkenny. The 79-61 win over Fr Mathews of Cork added further silverware to a Senior Women’s National Cup and regular season league title. They capped off the campaign with another dominant performance, albeit against a doughty Fr Mathews side. 

“Absolutely savage to be honest with you,” said winning coach Mike Murray. “It’s unreal. I have to say, beyond my expectations without a doubt and again credit to all of them because they’ve done the job all year long – they really have. Just a great bunch.”

Mathews struggled to settle in the first quarter making only two of sixteen field goal attempts and while NUIG Mystics were shooting at 50%, the three-pointers of Siobhan Kilkenny imposed an early 14 point lead. 

Just when Mathews were generating momentum, Ailish O’Reilly fired off a three-pointer on the buzzer as a statement of authority. The young point guard only attempted three perimeter shots in the game but was successful with each one at a time when Mathews threatened to make a comeback. 

There was still little to separate the sides in the second quarter with both breaking the 20-point mark in ten minutes. Dearbhla Breen and Louise O’Connor finished the game with double-doubles and scored well as Mathews looked to narrow the cap. For Mystics, Lauren Murray gave a captain’s example in keeping turnovers to a minimum and being one of four players to shoot at 100% from the free-throw line. 

Mystics were 43-29 clear at half-time but Mathews hung in there for the third period.

“Derval O’Briain was superb again tonight,” said Fr Mathews Coach James Fleming. “Fiona Lynch and Louise O’Connor too – and we ran a ten player rotation for the whole game, so we’re proud. While we’re not happy, we’re proud of where we’ve come from.” 

Fiona Lynch checking back in for a rousing three-pointer but Mystics’ quality was undeniable. Michelle Fahy held her own in what was a physical encounter and Catherine Connaire picked off any open shots that came her way. 

Fr Mathews managed to shade the final quarter even though their never-say-die attitude was matched by the intensity of a Mystics side getting ready for life the Premier League. O’Reilly and Kilkenny combined for 10 assists from the guard spots with O’Reilly finishing with the MVP and a game-high 23 points. 

“When you get that far, you don’t want to stop,” said O’Reilly. “The Cup and the League were the main aim, so this is an extra bonus and we’re absolutely delighted.”

Fiona Lynch typified Fr Mathew’s attitude at the final buzzer: “When you get that far, you don’t want to stop. The Cup and the League were the main aim, so this is an extra bonus and we’re absolutely delighted.”

NUIG Mystics: Ailish O’Reilly 23, Michelle Fahy 16, Siobhan Kilkenny 19, Lauren Murray 6, Marritta Gilcrease 2. Substitutes: Rachael Gaffney, Emer Smyth, Deirdre O’Shea, Aoibhin O’Neil, Sarah Grealish, Leah Cunningham, Rebecca Hansberry, Hannah Coen, Suzanne McDonagh, Catherine Connaire 13

Fr Mathew’s: Mai O’Leary 4, Fiona Lynch 17, Dearbhla Breen 16, Kathryn Canty 4, Louise O’Connor 14. Substitutes: Tara Brosnan, Niamh Foley, Sinead Gee, Susanne Large, Kellie Cahalane 6, Rachel Finn, Rachel Furlong, Stephanie Morgan, Carolyn O’Mahony

HT: NUIG Mystics 43, Fr Mathews 29

MVP: Ailish O’Reilly

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