Rockets V Wolves | Match Report

Rockets 91 | S. Espinosa – 25 PTS, 11 STL, 8 REB, 6 AST | E. Luzon – 12 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK, 2 STL

Wolves 73 | C. Marques – 29 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL

It was a fantastic performance from the Reading Rockets Women this past weekend after their 91-73 victory over the Worcester Wolves. It was a tremendous defensive display seeing the Rockets grab 22 steals on their way to their 18-point win at the John Madejski Academy.

The game started at terrific pace. Both teams applied enormous amount of pressure on each other all the way up the court. After 6-0 run to start the game for the Rockets, the Wolves came back with a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game 6-6. It was then back and forth the whole quarter with both teams exchanging baskets, not letting each other forge a lead, ending 20-21 in favour of the Worcester Wolves.

The second quarter started the same way the first finished, both teams going at each other determined not to let the other develop a lead. Halfway through the quarter, the Rockets defensive pressure was relentless allowing them to accumulate many steals and turn them into easy baskets which led to a 7-point advantage in the Rockets favour going into the second half with the score 47-40.

The Rockets continued their impressive run into the second half with academy-star Sitota Espinosa starting the half with a tremendous 3-point shot. The Rockets swarming defence caused the Worcester Wolves to turn the ball over more than they would have hoped. The Rockets capitalised on this and went on a huge scoring-run to finish the quarter 69-51, a healthy 18-point margin going into the 4th and final quarter.

The 4th quarter was as exciting as the previous 3 with both teams continuing to press the ball all the way up the court. Both teams showcasing just how good British women’s basketball is with incredible defensive and offensive sets, demonstrating the terrific talent we have in the UK. The final quarter ended in a draw, but Rockets came away victorious, going home with a 91-73 win, their 3rd win of the season.

Coach Luque was extremely happy with the performance and attitude during the game. “The girls were able to press during almost the whole game which is something we spoke about in training the whole week. In offence we were moving the ball as we wanted to. The ball moved quickly and with purpose which improve our spacing on the court.” He continued to say “I’m so proud of all the hard work the girls have put in and I guess we could see a completely different team in 2021. I am delighted to be working with them and looking forward to see how they are improving every single week.”

Assistant coach, Charlie Haynes, was also full of praise for how the women played:

“With the majority of our squad made up of sixth-form student-athletes from the John Madejski Academy, our performance against Worcester Wolves is a great example of just how much potential we have within our team.

The girls had been awesome in training for the two weeks leading up to the game, which meant we were fully prepared to compete at our best.

I don’t think Worcester were expecting us to play with the level of intensity that we did. We played with aggression and executed our game plan really well, leading to plenty of deflections, steals and points in transition.”

It was truly an impressive performance from our academy members with all 3 of the individual awards accolades going to academy players. Sitota Espinosa picked up the Elephant & Castle Player of the Game after she filled the scoresheet, posting 25 points, 11 steals (a season-high), 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Fellow-Spaniard, Eva Luzon also had a terrific game off-the-bench, picking up 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks on her way to becoming the Elephant & Castle Impact Player of the Game. Finally, sharpshooting Mia Thompson was locked in from 3-point range shooting at an unbelievable 60%, finishing up with 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals to earn her the Reading Nando’s Red-Hot Rocket award.

It was an overall amazing performance from the women and a very exciting game to watch. They will certainly want to keep this good run of form going into their next game against Nottingham Trent University this Saturday at 1:00pm.

(Photos provided by Dan Wild)