Lady Cavs again
Station Hill dynasty remains intact
Forget 1,2,3 or even A,B,C. In fact, you could say it was as easy as U.W.I.
The only things missing from the Wildey Gymnasium last night were the brooms, as the Station Hill Cavaliers swept aside UWI Blackbirds 67-51 to romp to yet another Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Women’s League title.
The lopsided victory –– the second of the series following their 34 point rout in Game 1 –– gave the Lady Cavs a 2-0 lead in the best of three series, and propelled them to an unprecedented 12th league title in 14 years, and second in a row.
Long before the final whistle blew to set off somewhat subdued celebrations from the defending champs, the outcome was already a forgone conclusion.
They entered the fourth quarter with a seven-point cushion, 47-40, which ballooned up to 19 points (66-47) with just over three minutes remaining on the clock.
“This group might not be as fast as they used to be, but they are strong when it comes to fundamentals. I never had any doubts that we would have won this championship,” a confident Andrew Alleyne, coach of the winning squad told Barbados TODAY shortly after the victory.
“I really expected a tougher game tonight, because most of the times when a team beats you that badly you usually come back stronger for the second game . . . .”
That fight never materialized.
UWI’s two star guards, Toni Atherley and Sade Clarke scored just one of their 19 first half shots and a combined six of 33 overall, while the other member of their “Big Three” Jennifer Joseph-Hackett had just nine points.
Actually, had it not been for their unheralded guard, Kalaria Obasi, the game might have been over by halftime.
On the other hand, the Cavs’ dynamic twin-tower duo of Astrid Alleyne and Wanda Agard-Belgrave continued from where they left off in Game 1, dominating their smaller defenders in the paint on their way to scoring their side’s first eight points.
It helped them to open up an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter with their stifling defence helping to keep both Clarke and Atherley scoreless.
The Blackbirds were much more efficient in the ensuing quarter, with Clarke’s bank shot and Joseph-Hackett’s jumper helping to cut the deficit to six (20-14), with 8:37 remaining.
They even managed to pull within one, thanks to the efforts of Obasi, who out-hustled her defenders to score three consecutive layups as part of an 11-3 UWI run (21-20).
But two Shakira Shorey baskets and a jumper by Ria Phillips helped the Cavs to regain an eight-point lead at the half, 32-24.
The second half simply belonged to the Cavs, though.
While Atherley, who was scoreless at the half continued to struggle, Shorey, Alleyne and Phillips picked up the pace for the Cavs, with the lead growing to as many as 14, (45-31) thanks to Maria Cumberbatch’s baseline jumper.
With the lead continuing to balloon in the fourth quarter, UWI coach Derek Aimey eventually pulled all of his starters from the game and cleared the substitutes’ bench.
Alleyne led the way for the winners with 21 points, Agard-Belgrave added 15 and Phillips TEN points.
Atherley recovered to score a team-high 14 points to go along with her 11 rebounds for UWI, while Obasi chipped in with 13.
According to Aimey, it was a disappointing end to a disappointing season.
“I’ve been disappointed for the whole season. We were winning games by 20, 30 and 40 [points], but only because of the lack of quality of the other teams,” he explained.
“Our problem is that we do not train. We do not practice as a team. In three seasons, we have probably had at the most, two full-court practices.”