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Injuries prove costly for WBBL team

A depleted Oaklands Wolves side found high-flying Caledonia Gladiators too strong as they went down 91-60 in the WBBL on Saturday evening.

Coach Lee Ryan was already without Julia Koppl, Miriam Carrasco-Menendez, but lost centre Amy West with a head injury when she collided with a team-mate in the warm-up.

The disruption caused by the loss of West just minutes before tip-off was clear to see as a disastrous opening period saw Wolves trail 21-7 the first break.

But to their credit, on a weekend when Cardiff scored just 19 in a 76-point loss against London and Nottingham lost by 53 at home, Wolves got their offence moving in the second period as a Jorjah Smith triple helped them cut the deficit to 46-23 at half-time.

Five straight Shaq Wade points sent Wolves into the final break trailing 68-42 as they slowed the Scottish side down, while the fourth period saw triples from Caterion Thompson and academy captain Caitlin Ryan before Gladiators wrapped up the win.

Thompson led Wolves scoring  with 17 points, adding six rebounds, with Wade finishing with 15 points, eight boards and six assists. Captain Allison Day added ten points with Smith adding eight.

Sunday afternoon saw Wolves' two-year stay in NBL Division Two come to an end with a 111-43 home loss against unbeaten league leaders Solent Kestrels.

Faith Karahan's side stayed in touch with a Solent side, who controversially dropped out of Division One after winning four league titles in five years, during the early stages as they went into the first break trailing 29-17. But a 16-0 run in the second quarter ended the game as a contest as Kestrels led 64-24 at half-time before outscoring the hosts 26-9 and 23-10 in the final two quarters.

Spencer Matthews led Wolves with 11 points and three assists with Oliver Rudzinski and Ethan Downing each scoring seven points, and the former adding five rebounds.

Wolves travel to Cobham Scorchers on Sunday, and have three league games remaining before joining a revamped and slimmed down Division Three next season.

Wolves academy team's hopes of a play-off spot in WNBL Division Two took a knock as they lost a key game 65-49 at East London Phoenix, on Saturday afternoon.

Joanna Akpan sent the visitors into the first break with a 13-12 lead but a 19-8 second period put the hosts in charge with a 31-21 half-time lead. Wolves did most of the scoring at the foul line as they trimmed the lead to 46-39 at the final break before the hosts finished strongly to wrap up the victory.

Caitlin Ryan led the visitors with and 11-point, ten rebound double-double, while Amye Swinney added ten points and seven board, and Sarah Adepoju hit three triples on the way to nine points.   

Finally, a combined 45 points from Bill Irvine (23) and Dan Kosadinov (22) couldn't prevent Wolves II going down 100-63 at Chelmsford Charge.

The hosts extended a 29-17 first period lead to 49-33 at half-time before wrapping up the win with 26-12 and 25-18 third and fourth quarters.  

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