Rebels 80-70 Giants
It was semi final time in the Betty Codona Trophy this afternoon as the Manchester Giants travelled south to take on the Essex Rebels with the winner going to the final in Birmingham in the Utilita Arena and the first chance for a team to grab some silverware.
Both teams are heading into this game off the back of convincing wins in the quarter finals, The Rebels bested Leicester 84-70 just one week ago whilst Manchester put 98 past the Nottingham Wildcats with stand out performances from Idil Turk, Myah Pace and Sydney Hunter. Both teams would be heading into this game looking to continue their momentum.
Essex and Manchetser have already squared off one time before earlier in the season back in early December which saw Essex take the spoils 76-87. Giants head coach Marg Jones and her team will be looking for redemption whereas Rebels head coach Ashley Cookson would be looking to spur his team on and maintain bragging rights.
It was a quiet start for both teams as they were trying to find their feet in this semi final match up. It wouldn’t be until 3 minutes into the quarter that Rebels Tudor and Brooklyn Macalear-Fanus would trade baskets on back to back possessions to truly kick start this semi final. Tudor and Macalear-Fanus would trade baskets once more this time the pair sank a three ball each before Rebels Paxton and Sydney Hunter would back up their respective teammates. Brooklyn Macalear-Fanus, Sydney Hunter and Georgia Anderson would combine for the Giants opening 11 points in the quarter. Meanwhile, they would go down big early on as Essex managed to put up 21 to take an early lead.
Manchester would start off strong in the 2nd quarter through Lauren Thomas-Johnson who quickly put up 3 points followed up by back to back baskets from Manchester’s Sydney Hunter who even showed off her defensive prowess with a steal to set up her second basket this quarter. Georgia Anderson showed off her range as he drained a three ball to make it a single possession game. Idil Turk managed to keep the pressure on Essex through a pair of close quarter makes only separated by a free throw made by Rebels Dayzsha Rogan. Manchester would head into the half in a better place than they were 10 minutes prior, still behind in this semi final but only by 5.
Manchester would come agonisingly close to drawing level in this 3rd quarter, despite Tudor putting some daylight between Essex and Manchester, Sydney Hunter and Brooklyn Macalear-Fanus would claw Manchester to as close as a 2 point difference between them and Essex. This would be short lived as a three ball from Rogan would hit the bottom of the net and rattle Manchester who would not be able to respond for 2 whole minutes. Essex on the other hand, would continue to add to their tally as they put considerable separation between themselves and Manchester once more. Myah Pace would attempt to launch a comeback for Manchester as the scoring went through her for the final few minutes of the 3rd quarter, scoring 8 of the Giants next 11 points to round out the quarter.
Manchester would need to make up a lot of ground in order to get back into this game and would start off strong with a much needed 3 ball from Sydney Hunter. Tudor would respond with a 3 and make it a double digit Rebels lead as, despite best efforts from Manchester, would be a consistent factor throughout this quarter. Manchester would constantly break into the lead to bring it to single digits but were constantly rebuffed for their efforts. Myah Pace would get the team as close as 6 points off their opponents in this quarter but that would be as close as they would get as Manchester bowed out of the Betty Codona Trophy.
Sydney Hunter: 23 Points, 17 Rebounds, 5 Steals
Myah Pace: 14 Points, 6 Rebounds.
Brooklyn Macalear-Fanus: 17 Points, 9 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 58%FG.
With this afternoon's loss it means that the Manchester Giants maiden run in the Betty Codona Trophy comes to an end. All attention will be switched back to the league come February as the Manchester Giants face off against the Caledonia Gladiators at home on February 10th. Tip off will be at 2:00pm.
All the game footage from this afternoon’s semi final will be available to view below: