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Luxol, Starlites stay top of Women’s League with weekend wins

Starlites’ Stephanie De Martino (left) rises for a layup. Photo: Wally Galea

Caffe Moak Luxol beat Hibernians to stay top of the MSV Life Women League standings.

Joint leaders Starlites FIJO however, made a statement win against Fusion Quest as the battle for this season’s playoffs continued over the weekend.

(11-14, 12-6, 14-9, 18-14)

Hibernians had a good start in the game as they practically led all throughout the first quarter.

After a Kirsty Caruana initial jump shot, the Paolites had further hoops from the returning Ashleigh van Vliet and the American Kenyotta Jenkins, the latter also returning for Hibs after playing with them last season.

Van Vliet played all the game’s minutes and had an impressive tally of 17 rebounds as well as six assists and 7 points (at 33% accuracy). On the other hand, Jenkins had the best efficiency ratio for Hibs as she netted 20 points, shooting at 40%, as well as 10 boards and two blocked shots.

Hibs’ biggest lead in the game, seven points, arrived after a brace of Iona Agius free throws at 14-7 with Luxol managing to reduce the gap by the end of the first quarter with positive conclusions from Gladiana Avila and free throws from Josephine Diaby and Anna Fenech Pace.

The Paolites managed to maintain the upper edge for a good six minutes in the low-scoring second quarter until Luxol registered a quarter-ending 6-0 run to go in for the half time break enjoying a 23-20 lead.

Despite netting only five points in the game, Avila was the most efficient player on the court for Luxol. The Mexican made amends for her low 15% shooting with 15 rebounds and a nice double figure of 10 assists and three steals. Anna Fenech Pace and Amanda Mercieca both had 10 points in the game with 40% accuracy with the latter managing also seven steals in the game. The victors’ top scorer was Diaby with 16 points but only five rebounds along the encounter.

The start of the second half had Luxol showing more focus in their play and hoops from Fenech Pace, Diaby and Cristina Sollami had the violets open a double-digit margin, 31-21.

Despite a reply from Jenkins and Agius, it was still Luxol who kept on with their tempo for a 37-29 lead at the end of the third quarter after a late Lisa Fenech Pace freethrow.

Both sides were very erratic in their long-distance shooting with very low accuracy with Luxol having just one (from Avila) of 11 attempts whilst Hibs had two from 19 with Caruana netting one from five shots and Jasmine Abela the other trey from nine attempts.

Jenkins led Hibs’ push in the last quarter as she netted a series of points but Luxol kept their cool and always managed to maintain a consistent lead which rose to +17, 53-36, until Hibs reduced a bit the deficit with a late 7-2 spurt.

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL: C. Sollami 3, M. Mercieca 10, L. Fenech Pace 9, F. Camilleri, G. Avila 5, K. Portelli, B. Zammit, S. Fenech Pace 2, J. Diaby 16, M. Marmara, A. Fenech Pace 10.
HIBERNIANS: K. Conti, I. Agius 8, A. Van Vliet 7, B. Agius, J. Abela 3, K. Jenkins 20, K. Caruana 5, K. Calleja, J. Gauci, E. Cassar, J. Dabic.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, F. Ciurariu.

(14-27, 9-41, 10-24, 9-28)

Starlites FIJO registered a comfortable win over league newcomers Fusion Quest who tried their best and also always remained resolute in playing an open game despite the technical and physical disparity between the two teams.

The Naxxar side played all the 12 players in the roster with the most efficient being American Amelia Simmons who played 20 minutes and shot at 81% for 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. From a rebounds perspective, Starlites were clearly superior with a total of 61 against 31 with Mikela Riolo bringing down 10 boards and four assists in the game whilst Stephanie Demartino adding another nine boards and six assists as well as 21 points at 55% shooting. Catherine Cilia had seven boards and two assists in 15 minutes of play.

Guard Michela Zammit Cordina had a good-stats game as despite playing for just over 14 minutes, she amassed 18 points (67% accuracy), two assists and three steals.

Fusion, incidentally, had the first basket in the game through a Julia Schembri trey (13 points at 24% shooting, two steals) and they managed to keep at par until midway of the first half, at 8-8, after another trey from Schembri and a hoop from their debutante Fanni Fabok, 12 points (26% accuracy) and five rebounds.

Seven players suited for Fusion on the day with Schembri playing the whole game whilst Natalija Pejcic had 37 minutes ending with a team high of four assists whilst the best shooting percentage came from Marija Momcilovic with 30%.

FUSION QUEST: T. Azzopardi 2, M. Momcilevic 7, J. Schembri 13, E. Pace 2, D. Apostolovska, F. Fabok 12, N. Pejcic 6.
STARLITES FIJO: M. Zammit Cordina 18, M. Riolo 6, L. DeMartino 8, M. Sciberras 4, M. Bonett 14, S. DeMartino 21, M. Fenech 2, A. Simmons 18, C. Cilia 7, K. Mifsud 6, S. Davies 6, C. Curmi 10.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Ciurariu.

Caffe Moak Luxol (7/1) 15, Starlites FIJO (7/1) 15; Arms Depiro (4/4) 12; Hibernians (2/6) 10; Fusion Quest (0/8) 8.

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