The 1st team extended their unbeaten run with a comfortable 76-24 win against bottom of the table Brighton.
With a squad of only 6 available to Tope Alli-Balogun for the match, his team showed great determination and hunger to battle through the potential fatigue and produce an assured performance at SportsDock.
It was UEL’s number 13 Cotton who opened the scoring claiming two points after a swift counter attack.
Cotton was solid defensively and first to win any lose ball in her own half and start a counter attack.
Brighton were too sluggish on the ball and Olivia Bauer showed incredible hunger to win back the ball for UEL, and set up Kipewu for two points. Kipewu displayed emphatic pace and agility throughout and often caught the crowd’s eye with her ability to take on a defender.
The UEL girls all enjoyed the freedom to play and found it easy to put points on the scoreboard.
Brighton’s Liimola was able to bring back hope to the visitors with a couple of well-taken shots to put her side on the board.
A three-pointer from Bauer was met with applause from the home crowd as the first quarter ended 19-6 to the home side.
The second quarter was almost identical to the first, East London were far better drilled than the South Coast side and used their possession far more wisely. Mistakes began to creep into both sides game but UEL were clinical in the opposition’s half.
Bauer provided another piece of magic as she finished a fine piece of team play with a crisp shot that barely made a noise as it went through the hoop.
Brighton didn’t offer much but Captain Kamburova was on hand to scoop the ball into the net for two points from close range.
The game began to hit a quiet spell until Cotton entertained with a beautiful dummy and pivot which completely sold her marker before easily scoring. The half time score was 35-12.
The penultimate quarter was the least entertaining, all 13 points came from the league leaders. Brighton looked better in possession but couldn’t break down the UEL defence.
With a respectable lead already, the pace shown in the first half was lost and UEL’s build-up play became slower. However Cotton’s height could not be matched by Brighton and she was instrumental in UEL’s attacks adding six points from open play in the third quarter.
Despite the extra women for Brighton, they looked the most fatigued. UEL went on to expose poor defending with what was their best quarter of basketball, adding 28 points in the final 10 minutes.
However Brighton did find joy on the counter, as UEL often left themselves exposed trying to increase the lead.
Brighton’s Haga improved her team’s tally with points from open play and free-throws.
Despite their best efforts Brighton never really could compete with UEL, but as massive underdogs coming into the tie they can be proud of scoring 24 points against the league leaders.
The referee called time full-time and UEL had achieved another victory which will only boost their confidence as they prepare for a London derby next week against Imperial College.