Matthews almost gets Crusaders to upset win

IN the weekend’s National Basketball League (NBL)1 East Women’s action, the Central Coast Crusaders could not get past a well-drilled Manly Warringah Sea Eagles side, falling to the tune of four points at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders looked unlikely to pull off an upset in the first three quarters, but rallied in the final 10 minutes of play and gave the Sea Eagles a fair old scare in the final term. They got within two points in the last 15 seconds of the game, but could not get themselves over the line, with Manly Warringah nailing the necessary free throws and grabbing their eighth win of the season.

Despite the loss, Central Crusader Sara Matthews delivered an exceptional individual performance and was a key factor in her side’s comeback. She stuffed the stat sheet to finish with, 33 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists and was by far the most damaging player on the court.

She was a dominant factor for the Crusaders in the comeback, doing it all and lifting her teammates back into the game. When Central Coast looked down and out, Matthews lifted even further to make sure that the result was not sealed quite yet.

Scoring-wise, there was nobody better than Matthews for either side. She top-scored for the entire match with a whopping 33 points, nine better than the next player. 12 of her 26 field goals found the bottom of the net, and she did her best work inside the arc, where she went 10/17. Matthews also chimed in with a couple of threes, showcasing how well-rounded her game is.

Another successful facet of her game was her ability to draw contact. With some aggressive play, Matthews forced the officials to blow the whistle and send her to the line. She nailed seven of her eight attempts from the charity stripe, which helped boost her points total.

Matthews was also damaging on the boards, pulling down 10 over the course of the match. Three were on the offensive end, giving the Crusaders another possession, while her seven defensive rebounds prevented the Sea Eagles from any put-backs.

To top it all off, Matthews was also able to showcase her playmaking, finding her teammates in a scoring position with some crafty passes. She finished the game with six dimes, and helped create some much-needed scoring for Central Coast.

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