MAPFRE MSV League Women
Semi-Final Series Game 3
Gzira Athleta 61 Depiro 47
(14-10, 16-11, 17-13, 14-13)
Gzira Athleta: M. Stefanovic, C. Grima 22, B. Zammit 6, L. Sciberras 5, A. Simmons 10, D. Said Hollier 16, A. Borg 2, J. Schembri, S. Vella, A. Debenay, C. Mifsud
Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 8, M. Balzaraviciute, M. Bonett 7, N. Agius 11, M. Scicluna, C. Schumacher 8, J. Xuereb, T. DeMartino 4, C. Ciantar 9
Referees: E. Mangani, C. Farrugia, I. Simic
Gzira Athleta became the first women league finalists after making it a 3-0 semi-final series against Depiro, the latter having to do without their influential guard Samantha Brincat, out injured for the third game.
There was a balanced start to the game with Depiro having the first lead 8-4 but Christina Grima then led Athleta to a 14-10 first quarter score.
Free throws from Carlee Schumacher, Maria Bonett and Claire Ciantar had Depiro maintaining close contact whilst, at the other end, Denise Said Hollier helped Grima with their team’s point tally.
The most significant patch in the game came in-between the half time interval, exactly amid the last minute of the first half and the first half of the third quarter. From a tight 23-21 score, Gzira Athleta stormed to a double digit lead with an 18-5 run.
Depiro had to dig deep to keep their hopes alive and they did manage to register a positive reaction with two 8-0 runs and three treys from Nicole Agius had them bring down the margin to just five points, 42-47 with five minutes to go.
A time-out halted Depiro’s tempo and Gzira Athleta regained their composure with Amelia Simmons scoring a series of free throws to ascertain her team’s win and the series.
Caffe Moak Luxol 63 Starlites Naxxar 57
(7-10, 20-24, 10-9, 26-14)
Luxol: S. Pace 3, M. Mercieca 15, A. Munir 9, I. Baena Medina, S. DeMartino 19, K. Portelli, C. Sollami, P. Ellul 15, L. Caruana Montaldo, M. Darmanin, C. Curmi 2
Starlites: K. Galea 13, J. Doughty 3, D. Revol, K. Pirotta 3, J. Micallef 2, J. Grima 5, P. Arguello 25, E. Magrin, S. Davis 2, A. Lupo 4
Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, M. Rajczi
Reigning champions Luxol made it back-to-back wins in this semi-final series after that Starlites had won the opening game. Game four will be played this evening and the pressure is now on Starlites as only a win can keep their hopes alive of making it to the final by forcing a decisive fifth game on Saturday.
Starlites had most of the lead in this game but they suffered a point drought in the final four minutes whilst Luxol had a game winning 10-0 run.
The first quarter was quite dry from points with Luxol missing half of their free throws whilst Spaniard Patricia Arguello led Starlites to a 10-7 lead, even notching two treys.
Luxol did reply with treys of their own early in the second quarter through Stephanie Demartino, Mandy Mercieca and Paula Ellul but a Kristy Galea three pointer followed by points from Arguello and Josephine Grima opened a maximum 8-point lead for Starlites.
Luxol were the only teamto score in the first four minutes of the second half and managed to tie the score at 34-34 but Starlites’ answered back with a 9-1 run.
Further threes from Arguello and Galea respectively had Starlites go 49-42 in the lead with seven minutes to go and looking quite in control whilst also dominating the boards.
However Luxol increased their efforts and managed to overturn the score in their favour with a nine point break coming off Demartino, Attirah Munir and another Mercieca trey.
Kim Pirotta replied with a shot from downtown at the other end and a subsequent three point play from Arguello had Starlites enjoying their last lead at 55-53 with four minutes to go.
Here came Luxol’s vital game winning 10-0 run whilst they also forced their opponents to commit some crucial turnovers and even closely guarded Starlites’ main player Arguello. The latter did stop Luxol’s run with a late basket but time was now totally in Luxol’s favour as they took the lead, 2-1, for the first time in this series.