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Luxol, Depiro keep up playoff fight with big wins in Women’s League

Luxol's Josephine Diaby (right) looks for an option after grabbing a rebound against Hibernians. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Caffe Moak Luxol and Depiro both won big on Saturday in the MAPFRE MSV Life Women’s League to extend their battle with Starlites JSD for this year’s regular season top spot.

In a bid to head straight into the finals, the final rush has brought out the top three’s fight and on Saturday, Luxol and Depiro both brushed aside opponents Hibernians and Fusion Quest respectively at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion.



(18-2, 21-15, 18-11, 5 -19)

Luxol’s Tayler Bennett was the start of the show on Saturday, leading the game with 26 points and eight rebounds in around 26 minutes. Hibernians’ Fanni Fabok was her side’s leader on offence with 10 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Julija Dabic led the game’s rebounds with 12.

It was a defensive opening to the game with both sides barricading their paint for the first two minutes and 10 seconds until Luxol’s Tayler Bennett hit the first basket of the game with a powerful drive.

Bennett hit twice more with Lisa Fenech Pace adding another two scores as the Violets opened a double-digit lead with less than four minutes to go in the first quarter. Hibs finally garnered their first point, a mid-range effort from Fanni Fabok, but Santino Coppa’s clan put up another seven points to take a considerable advantage into the second quarter.

Mandi Mercieca opened the second rubber to give Luxol an 18-point lead before Bennett made it 20 on the next play.

It was looking like the start of a blowout but Sandro Farrugia’s team began to catch up gradually, not enough to reduce the deficit to arm’s reach as Luxol led by 22 at the halftime break.

After the change of ends, Hibernians came out stronger but once more, Luxol looked more fluid in their play and were the first to add to their tally with a pair of Nolene Vella freethrows. Julija Dabic eventually reopened Hibs’ scoring for the second half but the Paolites struggled to make their shots. This, in turn, gave further opportunity to Luxol to go ahead and by the end of the third quarter, they were up by 29 points.

The final quarter, however, was Hibs’ reprieve as they held Luxol to just five points and sent home 13 points within the first five minutes of play, starting with Amy Mallia’s three-ball.

The Paolites dominated the fourth rubber but it was too little, too late as Luxol held on to their earlier prowess to secure the win and keep themselves in the running for the top spot.

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL T. Bennett 26, M. Mercieca 6, L. Fenech Pace 5, H. Galea, N. Vella 8, E. Abela 8, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby, V. Baldacchino 3, S. Sciberras 6, M. Marmara, A. Fenech Pace 3.

HIBERNIANS M. Buhagiar 7, E. Farrugia 8, F. Fabok 10, I. Agius 8, J. Abela 3, B. Agius, J. Gauci, A. Mallia 3, J. Dabic 8.

Referees F. Ciurariu, N. Azzopardi.

Hibernians’ Jasmine Abela attempts to create space against Luxol’s Tayler Bennett. Photo: Jonathan Borg



(36-16, 23-10, 21-11, 13-20)

In the day’s second game, it was confident showing from Depiro to cruise past Fusion Quest. Kristy Galea led the scoring with 19 points while Jose Ann Johnson was 100% from the field to follow with 16 points. Sophie Abela was the game’s sole double-double finisher with 10 points and 19 rebounds, going one assist shy of a triple-double.

At the other end, Nicole Vella continued her positive offensive streak with 17 points while Camile Londono followed with 12, and Nicole Montalvo with 10 to round the double-digit scorers for Fusion Quest.

Fusion’s Londono kicked off the game’s excitement with a mid-range jumpshot before Johnson replied for Depiro with a layup a few seconds later.

Montalvo added to Fusion’s lead with seven points in between a pair of Julia Xerri freethrows before Claire Ciantar started what would be the decisive turnaround for Depiro as Adrian Baldacchino’s side hit their opponents with a nine-point run before Londono halted her opponents’ streak with a freethrow.

However, Johnson was on hand to reopen the floodgates and become the first player in double figures of the game while putting Depiro ahead by 12 before Noura Halbi responded with Fusion’s final basket of the quarter. Despite this, Julia Borg had the final say with second-chance points to make a 20-point game in favour of Depiro.

Borg was again on the scoresheet with an identical score as the second quarter began. Fellow guard Nicole Agius hit from mid-range before Fusion’s Jaelle Micallef and Julia Schembri stopped a Depiro run from starting.

Midway through the quarter, Depiro’s dominance became clear again with a 10-0 run as the lead grew to 33 by halftime.

Galea made it worse for Fusion as the two teams returned for the second half. Six points in between scores from Vella and Londono kept the margin around the 30-point mark before the Malta guard combined with Xerri and Ciantar for a 43-point lead with 2.20 to go in the third quarter.

Montalvo was first to score in the fourth quarter, Fusion’s best session on court. Ciantar issued a response with a complete and-one play before further scores from Borg and Jasmine Mallia that gave Depiro their greatest lead of the day – 49 points. After that, it was mostly Fusion baskets until the final buzzer, in between five points from Laura Camilleri.

DEPIRO S. Abela 10, J. Xerri 11, J. Mallia 2, N. Agius 2, C. Ciantar 9, K. Ismael 2, J. Borg 13, J. Johnson 16, M. Micallef 2, N. Borg 2, K. Galea 19, L. Camilleri 5.

FUSION QUEST C. Londono 12, J. Schembri 4, N. Caruana 6, N. Saliba, A. Parnis, J. Micallef 6, N. Halbi 2, N. Vella 17, N. Montalvo 10.

Referees B. Vassallo, M. Vassallo Pulis.


Starlites JSD 26; Depiro, Caffe Moak Luxol 25; Hibernians 17; Fusion Quest 13.

*Starlites JSD did not feature last weekend.

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