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Canarias on song in Rhondda
FIBA Cup for Women
Rhondda Rebels 69 Boston 14 Lender 11 Mackey 10
Cara Rural De Canarias 90
Bringing the cream of European Basketball to Wales has always been the objective to an ambitious Rhondda Rebels outfits and last night at the Rhondda Fach Sports Centre they made significant in roads in competing at this much higher level.
Rhondda would be the first to admit that the visit of Caja Rural Canaria to Tylorstown last night was going to be a case of damage limitation. but against one of the most respected teams in this seasons European Cup the Rebels came out of the game with a lot of credit.
Fresh-faced in European basketball and still searching for that elusive first win, beating the former Ronchetti Cup winners and favourites for this years competition was always likely to be a tall order. But despite their home loss, the club took another successful step to matching the strongest teams on the continent and raising the standard of the British game.
The valley club were eventually defeated 90-69 at the Rhondda Fach Sports Centre after a fast and furious head-to-head when they had the Spanish club playing catch-up early on.
The Rebels were a real driving force in the opening quarter when they took a 12-3 lead over the Spanish team.
With England international Shelly Boston and American Chelsea Mackey back after sitting out last week's clash with Basket Reims due to ineligibility arguments that are now resolved, the Rebels were back to full strength.
But the home side could not sustain their lead for the entire quarter. Gran Canaria had opened with a three-pointer while at the opposite end of the court their defence was hard to crack. But tenacious Australian point guard Tammy Goyne emulated the three-pointer and began the Rebels' scoring. Captain Missy Lender and Boston were on target, serviced by Goyne and Alexsandra Tancevska, and under their opposition's basket, they capitalised
on the rebounds, running away and threatening to spring a major surprise.
It was a short-lived threat though and just as Gran Canaria had faltered in the opening minutes, the Rebels shooting became less accurate and the visitors, thanks mainly to Summer Erb, clawed back in to take a 19-18 lead at the end of the quarter. Midway through the second session, Gran Canaria were firing on all cylinders with a 10-point cushion and had topped 40 points close to half-time.
Current team top scorer Rosi Sanchez was on form for the visitors in the third quarter, hitting a series of three-pointers that helped them run away to a 20-point lead and a recovery from the Rebels drifted further out of reach with a 74-51 score line with 10 minutes remaining.
When their opposition had hit 80 points, it became a case of damage limitation for the Rebels, who worked hard throughout finished the game strongly with Glamorgan University student Sinead Hughes scoring 9 points in the final quarter to outscore the Spanish Giants 18 – 16.
Rebels Manager Andrew Tynan said, "We’re really pleased with our performance, We played this team 3 seasons ago in a tournament in France and lost by 95 points! So we have definitely made progress.
“The biggest difference between the teams is that they were fully professional and they train twice a day every day."
Next up in Europe will be Trip to Belgium to take of Dexia Namur, but first Rebels must travel to Ellesmere Port on Sunday for a 2nd round of the National Cup.
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