Maree women shoot down Rockets to set up another final showdown

Maree Basketball Club’s senior women’s team are one game away from completing a clean sweep of national titles following their 84-76 win over Phoenix Rockets in the League Cup semi-final in Carlow on Saturday.

On their first season back in the national league after an absence of a decade, Maree have already scooped the division one title - and promotion to next season’s Super League - as well as the division one cup, Southern Conference shield, and Women’s National League Committee (WNLC ) trophy.

Standing in their way of a clean sweep is Ulster Elks, the side they defeated in the division one cup in January in a thrilling final, and another cracking game is in store when they meet on finals’ day in Dublin on Sunday week, April 14.

Maree will go into that game as favourites - they have already beaten Elks three times this season - but they know an improvement is needed on last weekend’s performance if they are to complete the season with 24 wins from 24 games.

They were slow out of the blocks on Saturday, and it needed a pair of three-pointers from co-captain Carol McCarthy midway through the first quarter to keep them in touch with a fired-up Rockets side that was looking to avenge the three defeats they had suffered at the hands of Maree during the season.

The sides were level at 25-points apiece at the end of that first quarter thanks to McCarthy, as well as scoring contributions from Claire Rockall (8 ), Dayna Finn (5 ), and Catherine Connaire (4 ).

Finn and Maggie Byrne started the scoring in the second quarter, and with Connaire continuing to knock down some important scores, Maree took a 48-42 lead into half-time.

Rockall led the scoring honours in the third quarter as Maree took control of the game, at one stage opening a nine-point lead before enjoying a 66-59 advantage at the end of the quarter, with Laoise Walsh running some great screens.

Connaire hit 12 points in the final quarter as Maree held the Rockets’ attempts at a comeback at bay to book a place in the final against an Elks side that were far more comfortable in their semi-final with St Mary’s Castleisland than the final 83-68 scoreline suggests.

Meanwhile, the club’s Galway men’s league side took local honours last Wednesday, defeating Titans 99-70 in the league final in the Jes Hall.

Maree women: Carol McCarthy (8 ), Dayna Finn (20 ), Claire Rockall (21 ), Catherine Connaire (23 ), Fiona Scally (2 ), Maggie Byrne (8 ), Nicola O’Connell, Laoise Walsh (2 ).

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