National Cup Match Report: Rockets Women 62-90 Sheffield Hatters

City of Birmingham Rockets women bowed out of the National Cup at the quarter-final stage at the hands of Sheffield Hatters, who denied Coach Emery’s team in the playoff final last season too.

A devastating first quarter saw Sheffield build a lead which they held onto for the remainder of the game.

There are plenty of positives to take into future games based on a strong second-half display, with aggressive defence and good shot selection on offence.

After suffering defeat on Saturday against Ipswich, Birmingham were glad of a second opportunity to get out on the court and show what they’re capable of. The home team began with Michelle Turner, Nuri Seyedagha-Calderon, Catarina Seixas, Milly Harrison and Grace Brownell.

Harrison opened the scoring for Rockets with a layup, assisted by Seyedagha-Calderon. After being brought into the game, Enkeleda Pashaj was fouled and made both free throws.

Maru Bibiloni also made one from the line before sinking a jumpshot for two. However, the first quarter ended with the home side 7-33 down and really up against it.

Rockets started the second with a Seyedagha-Calderon two-pointer. Before Brownell made a three-point play, appreciated by the home crowd. Rockets were growing into the game at this stage, and both Seyedagha-Calderon and Seixas added further scores.

After a quiet passage of play, Seixas made a layup assisted by Turner before Bibiloni was sent to the line and made both shots. Harrison ended Birmingham’s scoring for the half with a well-worked jump shot, set up by Sarah Mullgrave. This left the score 22-52 at the half.

With the game pretty much up at the break, Rockets came out with renewed energy in the second half, determined to show the home supporters their best basketball. Turner started it with a huge three-pointer, assisted by Brownell.

Precilla Ocrah then went to work in the post, laying in for two.

Turner was in the action again with another three-pointer, this time assisted by Seyedagha-Calderon, before the latter sank a three of her own, set up by Seixas. Coach Ryan’s team were proving they could match such quality opposition and were visibly growing in confidence.

An impressive Seixas long-range three-pointer was the next score, assisted by Turner. Despite some individual foul trouble, Coach rotated his squad well and Biblioni injected some pace off the bench, making a three-point play.

With time running out in the quarter, a well-timed pass by Pashaj meant that Turner released an open shot to make three, leaving the score 75-43 Hatters.

The Rockets’ revival continued in the fourth, as the home team managed to win the quarter and restore some pride.

Seyedagha-Calderon got the quarter going with a powerful drive, assisted by Turner. Pashaj then earned a steal after great defence, then took it all the way to the basket with a driving layup, before she assisted Seixas for another deep three-pointer in the next possession.

Birmingham were being far more aggressive at both ends, looking to attack the basket where possible, but kicking it out to find the open player when necessary. 

Brownell made two from the line after a good drive, then Seyedagha-Calderon cut through to nail a driving layup.

Ellie Pierpoint was next to put the defence on the back foot, assisting Ocrah who was wide-open for two.

Seixas rounded off the scoring for Birmingham with a three-point jumpshot, giving the home team the consolation of winning the quarter and helping them take some belief and confidence into their coming fixtures.

Leading the Rockets’ scorers was Seixas on 14, closely followed by Seyedagha-Calderon with 13, as well as six rebounds and two assists. Turner had five assists to add to her nine points and Biblioni had nine points off the bench too.

Unfortunately, our National Cup run has now come to an end but please join us again on Saturday 16th December as our attention turns back to the league.