Tough Opening NWBL Round for Australian Gliders
The Australian Gliders’ campaign for the 2015 National Wheelchair Basketball League (NWBL) season began over the weekend, playing three matches over three days against the RSL Queensland Spinning Bullets.
Unable to come away with a victory, coach Tom Kyle still drew several positives from the matches.
“We improved each game and gained so much confidence from being able to compete at that level. The girls now understand that they can take it to the top teams.
“We got blown out in the first quarter on Friday night with the pace of the game as the girls came to terms with the NWBL style of play, compared to the Women’s National League. But after that, we rallied and I was happy that we adjusted so well. Overall, I thought we improved upon every game.”
All ten Gliders received playing time across the three matches, with a different player top-scoring in each match.
Clare Nott shot 5-7 for 10 points on Friday night while Kylie Gauci added two points and eight rebounds. Amber Merritt collected 11 points and eight boards on Saturday, while Gauci also reached double-figures off the bench. On Sunday, Cobi Crispin had a team-high 14 points with Merritt adding seven points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
“Overall, there wasn’t one bad performance all weekend,” said Kyle.
“Nott started really well on Friday night, Merritt was strong in all three games and is starting to become a premier player not just in Australia but across the world.
“Shelley Chaplin and Gauci are our veterans even though they’re still young. They managed the pace of the game, the control of the team and although their contributions do not necessarily show on the stat-sheet, they certainly open up the floor and help keep the game competitive.”
The Gliders do not play again until June 26 in the NWBL but there will be no rest for the players.
“We’ve got the Australian Under-25’s team training this week as well as women’s national league commitments the following week. There is no real down time but we do a lot of online video analysis and will now start to adjust our game so that it is compatible with Kilsyth for our match.”