Panthers claimed a key win over Meteors
Portlaoise Panthers Ladies Superleague team got their first win of the season on Saturday night as they beat Meteors on their own patch.
The Ladies were fully deserved of their victory as they put together a forty minute performance for the first time this year. Confidence grew as the game went on and hopefully they can build on this as they look to take their first home win this Saturday night against Liffey Celtics.
The start of the game saw both sides trading scores with Necole Sterling showing why she leads all scorers in the League with five points early on, two baskets coming off penetrating moves from outside. Sterling was drawing a lot of attention from the Meteors defence which created space for the Portlaoise guards to make an impact.
Maeve O’Sullivan hit two big three pointers in a row which seemed to lift the team and they never looked back from there. A further two points from the free throw line gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the game and the introduction of Claire Melia just added another threat as she scored six points in a row, going four from four at the free throw line.
Meteors indiscipline allowed Panthers to punish the home side at the line and Deirdre Tomlinson and Necole Sterling finished the scoring of the quarter giving them a 23-11 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter was much the same as the first with Portlaoise continuing to pile on the pressure. Claire Melia and Necole Sterling combined well to push out the lead further. Meteors resorted to fouling again in this quarter with Sinead Melia getting her first scores of the game from the line, reward for her earlier defensive play and assists.
Sterling and O’Sullivan continued to shoot the lights out with O’Sullivan hitting her third three of the game and Sterling bringing her first half tally to nineteen points. Eimear Mairtin was the shining light for Meteors in the first half and kept her side in with an outside chance with Portlaoise leading by nineteen at the break.
The third quarter was a low scoring game with both teams getting the upper hand in defence. Patient build up play in offence wasn’t being rewarded as the final shots weren’t dropping. The visitors defence was immense as they held Meteors to just five points while they extended their lead out to twenty six points during the quarter.
Necole Sterling continued to dominate on the offensive end adding another six points to her tally. Catherine O’Sullivan and Sinead Melia took advantage of the space afforded them to drain two mid range shots to end the quarter on a scoreline of 56-30 in their favour.
The final ten minutes was a formality for Portlaoise but they wanted to finish out the game strongly as they failed to do so in their previous games. Coach Hunor Harkai rotated the squad to keep things fresh but Meteors were not going down without a fight and began to find their range from deep which had deserted them for long periods during the game.
Portlaoise weren’t finished as the O’Sullivan sisters stood up and drained a three pointer each while Sinead Nihill got rewarded late on for her hard work on both ends. Aisling Hayden and Maeve Phelan rounded off the scoring to give the Ladies a much needed and deserved win by 68-46.
The Ladies will now look to build on this result this Saturday night at 7pm in St Mary's Sports hall as they take on high flying Liffey Celtics who are coming off the back of two straight wins of their own.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Necole Sterling, Maeve O’Sullivan, Sinead Melia, Catherine O’Sullivan, Claire Melia, Sharon Melia, Deirdre Tomlinson, Maeve Phelan, Aishlng Hayden, Sinead Nihill.