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Starlites slam past Luxol to hold onto women’s top spot

Starlites’ Steffi De Martino (centre) pushes through the Luxol defence. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Depiro continue run to overthrow leaders with Hibs victory

Starlites JSD faced mixed emotions in a double-header that started with a cruising victory over Caffe Moak Luxol over the weekend which kept them on top of the MAPFRE MSV LIFE Women’s League.

Meanwhile, Depiro went two for two with a dominant showing against Hibernians before another against Starlites on Tuesday to continue their impressive run towards the playoffs, just days after winning the women’s Knockout.



(26-9, 13-13, 14-6, 18-12)

Michela Zammit Cordina opened proceedings with a powerful drive through the Luxol paint, finishing with a layup 30 seconds into the game. Josephine Diaby issued Luxol’s response with a successful effort from under the hoop.

The game took a defensive turn for the Violets but a Steffi De Martino three-pointer separated the two sides. Mikela Riolo added a three-ball of her own before De Martino, who finished with a 19 points-14 rebounds double-double, made it a nine-point game with a charging run up to the hoop.

Nolene Vella finally broke Luxol’s duck with a complete and-one play but Maria Bonett gave Starlites a double-digit lead with a bit less than five minutes to go in the first quarter.

Zammit Cordina and De Martino caused more damage from three-point range, while Paige Cannon stopped Luxol’s advances as the league leaders led by 17 at the first buzzer.

Bonnett hit the first points of the second quarter with a pair of freethrows. Cannon did just the same to put coach Fatih Dedelioglu’s clan up by 20. Luxol were struggling with getting their shots up, with the ball getting intercepted several times by the Starlites defence as they opted for closer shots.

This Starlites dominance kept up until the halftime break as the two sides went back to their dressing rooms at 39-22.

After the change of ends, the Violets went on the offensive, controlling most of the ball but for all of their possession, it was a pair of Tayler Bennett freethrows that restarted the scoring 3.29 into the third quarter.

Cannon hit from deep as Starlites regained their 20+ point lead, and their edge on offence to lead by 25 ahead of the final quarter as Luxol needed to step up their shooting to get a chance of redemption.

Luxol’s Bennett hit first in the fourth quarter with a mid-range jumpshot but Starlites restarted their charge, going 30 points ahead with 6.32 to go in the game. Luxol attempted to fight back but it was to be their second consecutive defeat after falling to Depiro in the Knockout final the week before.

STARLITES JSD M. Zammit Cordina 14, M. Riolo 7, A. saliba 4, M. Bonett 12, S. De Martino 19, C. Cilia, C. Vella, C. Curmi, P. Cannon 15.

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL T. Bennett 10, M. Mercieca 3, L. Fenech Pace, N. Vella 12, J. Diaby 6, V. Baldacchino 2, S. Sciberras, S. Farrugia 2, M. Marmara, A. Fenech Pace 5.

Referees F. Ciurariu, N. Azzopardi.



(9-16, 15-18, 14-22, 20-26)

Sophie Abela kickstarted the game’s scoring with a fast break, finishing off her run with a successful layup. Julija Dabic replied with Hibernians’ first basket, a close-range layup after rising to meet a pass from Lyndsey Whilby.

The Hibernians top scorer (15 points) hit next from a freethrow but it was Iona Agius who broke a lull in play between the two sides as it looked like an off day for the game’s offence.

Depiro’s Abela brought the game to a point’s difference midway through the first quarter as Depiro changed leads but Whilby took it away with another pair of freethrows. The two sides leapfrogged each other into the lead but there was no clear advantage for either side as both teams struggled to exploit their opponents’ shaky shooting.

Depiro shook things up to open a five-point gap late but this momentum was halted by the buzzer as the Mtarfa side led after the first quarter.

Hibs’ Whilby opened the second quarter with the game’s first three-pointer. Depiro’s Jose Ann Johnson took full points from a shooting foul as Depiro responded.

With four minutes to go until halftime, coach Adrian Baldacchino’s side finally began to establish dominance over the game, expanding their lead into double digits after Julia Borg intercepted a pass in the Hibs backcourt and rose up to send Depiro 10 points ahead. They kept up this lead until the break to finish the first half up 34-24.

The second-half scoring began just as the first one had – with an Abela basket. To make it even more identical, Dabic bagged Hibs’ first second-half points straight after.

Points came at a premium for coach Sandro Farrugia’s side in the third quarter with Dabic’s basket being the side’s only score in the first five minutes of play. Agius hit from deep to end this drought but Jose Ann Johnson made it a 20-point game with four minutes to go.

The final quarter was possibly the Paolites’ best quarter of the game on Saturday, but momentum was still with the newly-crowned Knockout winners.

Hibs’ Fanni Fabok fired in first to bring the deficit down to 16 before Dabic grabbed a missed freethrow to add another to their cause. But a Kristy Galea triple restarted a Depiro surge. Nicole Agius hit from deep before Hibs’ Agius replied with one of her own.

The final part of the fourth quarter was to be Hibs’ downfall as they were allowed just six points until the final buzzer while Depiro continued to pile up the points as they registered the victory at the end of the game.

HIBERNIANS M. Buhagiar 3, E. Farrugia, F. Fabok 4, I. Agius 11, L. Whilby 15, J. Abela 2, B. Agius, K. Calleja 9, J. Dabic 14.

DEPIRO S. Abela 11, N. Agius 3, J. Xerri 12, J. Mallia 1, L. Duncan, N. Agius, C. Ciantar 3, J. Borg 11, J. Johnson 25, M. Micallef, N. Borg, K. Galea 16.

Referees Z. Dobrosaviljevic, M. De Flavia.


MAPFRE MSV LIFE Women’s League

Depiro vs Starlites 64-58

Fusion Quest vs Hibernians 38-107


Starlites JSD, Caffe Moak Luxol 19; Depiro 17; Hibernians 12; Fusion Quest 9


Valletta Fighters vs Hibernians 60-97

Starlites JSD vs Luxol 104-77

SiGMA Depiro vs Mellieha Libertas 58-110


Mellieha Libertas 22; Athleta 21; Starlites JSD 20; Hibernians 18; SiGMA Depiro 17; Luxol 16; Valletta Fighters 12.

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