DCU Mercy crowned Women’s Super League champions after win over Maree

DCU ran out 81-58 victors 81-58 in the penultimate game of the season.

DCU MERCY WERE crowned the 2019/20 Basketball Ireland Women’s Super League champions this afternoon as they ran out 81-58 point winners over Maree at DCU in the penultimate game of the season.

Mark Ingle’s charges were pushed all the way by the Galway outfit, and it was a stunning third quarter display from American Meredith Burkhall that ultimately put them on the road to glory, as she dominated under the boards and headed to the free throw line on numerous occasions in the period, slotting home 12 points in the quarter, with 10 of these coming from the free throw line.

A tense and close first half saw Maree get the better of proceedings early in the first quarter, with Fiona Scally, Carol McCarthy and Claire Rockall dominating the scoring to edge them into an early lead. Good play from DCU’s Ashley Russell, Burkhall and Rachel Huijsdens saw the Dubliners claw back the lead though, to trail by just two at the end of the first, 14-16.

An extremely close second quarter followed, with Sarah Woods, Huijsdens and Burkhall all on-form for DCU, but Rockall and Scally along with good scores from Maggie Byrne kept Maree with the hosts every step of the way to tie the game up at 31 points apiece at the half. Burkhall hit her stride in the third, dominating the offensive boards and picking up numerous fouls to put Maree in foul trouble. Two key threes from Maeve Phelan and Woods pushed DCU further in front and they headed into the final quarter 55-45 to the good – having outscored Maree 24-14 in the period.

Another huge quarter followed in the last, with Russell and Burkhall dominating, while Woods delivered two big threes at key stages to stop Maree’s momentum. Again, free throws were the story of the quarter, with DCU knocking down 10 points from the line in the period, and they pushed on to win out 81-58 in the end.

Speaking afterwards, captain Sarah Woods said: “We’re just elated. We came in today with a job to do. We know how good Maree are, they beat us in Galway and we knew it would be a really tough game. I’m just so happy to be holding the trophy now and to be finally able to say we’re league winners.”

Elsewhere, Ambassador UCC Glanmire continued their fine run since losing their local derby game to Fr Mathews at the start of the month. An impressive display on the road against Pyrobel Killester saw Mark Scannell’s charges emerge 83-96 victors in an overtime thriller in Dublin. Shrita Parker was exceptional again for the visitors, notching 31 in the contest, making it three games on the spin where the Virginia native netted over thirty.

Louise Scannell was integral when the game needed an extra period to separate the sides, knocking down two threes to open up an early lead for her team, creating a deficit that Killester just couldn’t respond to in such a short time frame.

The two other Cork teams were in derby action on Saturday evening, with Fr Mathews falling narrowly to local rivals Singleton Supervalu Brunell 71-72. The northside club came out strong in the first quarter, led by stalwart Danielle O’Leary (17), seeing Brunell take a six-point lead at the half. Shannon Brady led the way for the home side with 20, but in a tight affair down the stretch, it was the visitors who grounded out the win with some stellar defence down the stretch to keep Mathews’ game-winning attempt at bay.

The result sees Mathews drop to seventh in the table with Maxol WIT Wildcats capitalising by winning 54-80 in Kilkenny against Marble City Hawks. Jasmine Walker was excellent for Wildcats as usual, combining with Stephanie O’Shea to finish with 37 points between them.

Leixlip Amenities Liffey Celtics also remain in the hunt for play off positions as they saw off the challenge of IT Carlow Basketball 84-66 at home on Sunday afternoon. Jaiamoni Welch Coleman, Sorcha Tiernan and Brianna Green led the scoring for the hosts – combining for 57 points between them – and despite solid displays from Kaitlyn Slagus and Alyssa Velles for Carlow, Liffey just had too much in the end.

Over in the Men’s Super League, Belfast Star were at their usual best in their visit to Abbey Seals Dublin Lions, coming away from the capital with a 61-102 victory. The victory keeps the pressure on Garvey’s Tralee Warriors at the top of the table, CJ Fulton emerging as top scorer for the Belfast outfit for the third week in a row. The 18-year old was incredibly efficient in his time on the court, finishing a perfect eight from eight from the field including three threes.

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DCU Saints were good value for their second win in a row against tough opposition, defeating Coughlan CandS Neptune 77-86 to build on their win over Griffith College Templeogue last week. Michael Bonaparte and Charlie Coombes combined for 42 between them in what is Neptune’s fourth loss of the month, their only win coming against DBS Eanna at the start of the month.

Eanna were also in action this weekend, winning out 90-76 win over neighbours, UCD Marian. Serbian superstar Stefan Zecevic was pivotal for the home outfit, knocking down 34 points while Marko Tomic kept UCD busy by pouring in 21. Most of the damage was done before the interval, Eanna leading by thirteen at the break, a deficit UCD were unable to claw back throughout the third and fourth quarters.

Griffith College Templeogue and Pyrobel Killester both managed to pick up victories this weekend, defeating Moycullen and Keane’s Supervalu Killorglin respectively on Saturday evening, while Garvey’s Tralee Warriors and Maree’s Saturday evening clash was postponed until this evening (Sunday) due to the weather warning.

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