Image Credit: [Cian Fox]
Gryphons go down to battling defeat against Manchester Metropolitan University.
It was a mixed week for the University of Leeds Women’s Basketball team, who claimed a historic Varsity victory last week, beating Leeds Beckett 54-50 for the first time in the club’s history. This result helped secure a vital point in the overall Varsity standings, which the University of Leeds won against Leeds Beckett 30-29, clinching the Varsity title for the first time ever.
Unfortunately, Leeds were unable to keep up winning ways in the league, falling to a 83-47 loss on Wednesday against a physical Manchester Metropolitan side in the league opener at the Edge. As a result of the team’s stellar season last year – where Leeds comfortably sealed promotion to the BUCS Northern 1A division, with a 100% win record – the standard of basketball will be higher this season, with the team facing tough opponents such as Manchester Metropolitan, Sheffield Hallam and Leeds Beckett, every week.
It was no surprise, therefore, that Leeds struggled in their opening league game in the Northern 1A against MMU.
Nonetheless, Leeds enjoyed a positive start to the game, shooting back to back 3 pointers to earn a deserved lead of 8-4 in the opening exchanges. However, as the game went on, Manchester began to rocket ahead, playing physical but fast basketball, drawing fouls and scoring well in transition. At the end of second quarter, Leeds trailed 46-24.
Leeds responded quickly in the third, rectifying some of their mistakes after the break, particularly in winning rebounds and challenging Manchester’s dominant centre, who was pivotal at both ends of the court. This determination from the Gryphons was evident throughout the game, with assistance from a vocal bench and supportive crowd, who ensured that home advantage was a factor. But Manchester’s lead remained unassailable, and despite a late flurry from Leeds, MMU continued to score at will, reaching an impressive 80 points by the end of the game.
The final score was 83-47 in MMU’s favour, with Leeds struggling to contain their physically imposing opponents, who showed the quality the team will now face on a regular basis in the league.
The team acknowledged the level of opponent, “We are playing in League 1A this year and every team plays to win. There are some very good teams and some impressive athletes we are playing against. We had our first game against the probable winners of the League so it was tough”. “However, we have a good potentiality as a team and we are training hard, we still have everything to demonstrate”.
There is cause for optimism, however, as Leeds are newcomers in the Northern 1A division, and will only improve as the season progresses, especially after a historic Varsity win over Leeds Beckett. “We won against Beckett for the first time in history! That was a great win for us. Playing Varsity is always special and winning it was something amazing. Even more amazing was finding out that Leeds Uni beat Beckett by 1 overall”.
As Leeds Beckett play in the same league, Leeds have shown they can beat other teams in the division. The Gryphons look to bounce back in their next game against Northumbria on the 17th of October, at 5pm in the Edge.
The Gryphons play their next game against Northumbria on the 17th of October, at 5pm in the Edge.