Team Solent Kestrels Women had to wait for an extra hour before their return to home court action as the City of Birmingham Rockets were delayed on their travels to the Solent Sport Complex. The amended tip-off time of 16:45 saw the home team benefit from a prolonged warm-up which proved decisive as they recorded their first win of the season 66-64 thanks to a last-second score.
The first quarter very quickly became a game of rebounds with Gabriela Kostova-Dobreva working hard in her own post to outmuscle the visitors. The Kestrels came back with some good hustle and worked hard in transition to maintain an even scoreboard through numerous trips to the foul line as the Rockets struggled with conceding fouls. A very tight affair saw the first quarter end 12-14 to the away team.
The second quarter saw a lot more perimeter action as both team started to find the net from behind the three point line. Solent initially struggled to keep up with the pace set by the away team but doggedly stopped them from pulling away. Tilly Goddard found a hot streak by converting a three pointer and then an and-one play but it wasn’t enough to ensure the scores were even going into the halftime break as the Kestrels trailed 29-40.
The start of the third quarter saw a swing in momentum as the Kestrels broke up the attacking plays of the visitors with success whilst also tough shots from around the paint fall through the hoop on their own attacks. Dobreva continued to demonstrate her prowess in the paint as neither team would cede to the other’s pressure though as the third quarter ended 44-55, with no change in the lead.
The fourth quarter began with a series of fouls that stopped any rhythm being built for both teams. The disruption to the start of the game appeared to take its toll as lapses of concentration saw more fouls and turnovers all over the court. The Kestrels slowly started to erase the point deficit through frequent trips to the free throw line and shots from under the hoop. Midway through the quarter, the Kestrels had managed to level the game, erasing the 11-point deficit. Chaos sparked in the stands as Earleesha Jackson scored what would turn out to be the winning points with 1.7 seconds on the clock as the match ended 66-64.
Tilly Goddard had 16 points to lead TSK whilst Gabriela Kostova Dobreva had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Fernanda Loberto chipped in a 12 point, 10 reobund double double.