Brixton Topcats coach Steve Vear hailed his team’s performance against WBBL Trophy holders Sheffield Hatters after they were narrowly beaten at the Brixton Rec on Sunday. The home side (pictured below) dominated the Hatters for long periods of the game with Jenaya Wade-Fray and Kyla Nelson in excellent form racking up 43 points between them. A late fight back by Sheffield led by Georgia Gayle was enough to see the visitors turn the game on its head in the final quarter. The contest ended as an 82-76 win for the Hatters.
Topcats coach Vear said the loss was “tough to take” but complimented his side’s performance. Speaking to Brixton Blog after the game Vear said: “It’s always tough when you lose when you play that well. Players feel they didn’t do well but I really genuinely believe we lost that game. I don’t think Sheffield came here and beat us outright I think we threw it away.
“We had a moment where it was probably a minute of too many turnovers and Sheffield are such a good side who will capitalise on that. They are renowned as the best team in the league and they have just won the WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League) Trophy Final.
“I told my players we had to be at our best for the whole game to beat them as they win all the time. They have got the MVP of the league and they’ve got Great Britain players. It’s tough to take because we were up the whole game and then we lose it right at the end. But we’ll learn from this and get better.
“We have young players like Megan Haines who is only 15 and she’s closing the game out for us in the top league in England. There are others like Jenelle Grant, she’s 17 and had a good game.
“We gave Sheffield a scare and I’m really proud because we had a bad loss last week and we had to bounce back. The result wasn’t the way we wanted things to go but I’m really happy as I think we put in a really good performance.”
On March 5 the Topcats will head to Sheffield for the Betty Codona Classic. Prior to that they’ll take on London rivals Barking Abbey Crusaders in an away game on 27 February. Their next big home game will be on Sunday 20 March against league leaders Nottingham Wildcats.
“Nottingham are top of the league so it doesn’t get any easier at home”, Vear added. “If we put in a performance like we did today I’m confident of our chances. For us it’s game-by-game and this season we are getting better as a team and as a coach that’s what I want to see. We started the season a little bit shaky, but we’re finding our identity and getting better so I’m happy with our progression.”
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