Cork Basketball: Brunell steal win from DCU Mercy thanks to Lauryn Homan at the buzzer

Captain Edel Thornton was in top form as the hosts came from 15 points down to grab the victory
Cork Basketball: Brunell steal win from DCU Mercy thanks to Lauryn Homan at the buzzer

SSV Brunell's Lauryn Homan tries to get past DCU Mercy's Maeve Phelan. Picture: David Keane

Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell 102 DCU Mercy 101 (after over time) 

A buzzer-beating drive to the hoop from Lauryn Homan ensured Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell took maximum points in a thrilling Women’s Super League clash at the Parochial Hall on Sunday.

The visitors got off to a good start with Rachael Huijsdens draining consecutive baskets at the post and when Hannah Thornton followed with a neat jumper, they surged into a 6-2 lead in the third minute.

This season Brunell replaced coach Tim O’Halloran with former Castleisland chief Liam Culloty. Danielle O’Leary, back with the club, was introduced in the fourth minute but with Huijsdens murdering them at the post they trailed 12-8 midway through the quarter.

Up to the sixth minute, Huijsdens had contributed 12 of the 18-point DCU tally as surprisingly the Brunell coach had done little to curtail her threat. Maeve Phelan after a slow start nailed consecutive three-pointers: 33-18 with a minute remaining.

Brunell did make a rally in the closing minute but they still looked in trouble at the end of the opening period when trailing by 11 points as their defence was torn to shreds.

Lauren Homan and Katie Walsh opened with baskets for Brunell but a blatant travelling offence was missed for DCU’s next basket. The game was being stopped on a regular basis for various reasons but DCU still looked in control midway through the quarter when commanding a nine-point lead.

Thornton then produced a stunning three and suddenly the home crowd sensed a revival before the break. The rally continued following a DCU time-out with O’Leary draining a three and Homan banking a lay-up as the lead was reduced to 45-43 with 1.57 remaining to the interval.

Just when DCU looked in trouble Huijsdens produced a three on the buzzer. Credit to Brunel they continued to keep the fight up despite trailing 49-45 at the break.

It is worth noting that the Brunell professionals sat out the closing three minutes and a long period of the second half as their overall impact was below the standard required at this level.

On the resumption, both sides went for the jugular but with Thornton leading by example, it helped her team go ahead by the minimum 67-66 entering the final quarter.

 SSV Brunell's Edel Thornton drives past DCU Mercy's Lindsey Abed, during their Women's Super League clash at the Parochial Hall. Picture: David Keane
SSV Brunell's Edel Thornton drives past DCU Mercy's Lindsey Abed, during their Women's Super League clash at the Parochial Hall. Picture: David Keane

Coming down the stretch both teams continued to battle hard and with Brunell bringing their American duo of Dunn and Roberts from the bench, but it was Thornton who finished with a stunning basket that brought the teams on parity as added time loomed.

The fans at Cork’s oldest basketball venue were on their feet for the closing five minutes of added time.

Not for the first time did Thornton produce a crucial basket with 20 seconds remaining that edged the home side ahead 100-98.

One more twist as a Clancy basket and bonus edged DCU ahead with five seconds remaining as the Brunell coach called a good time-out. The ball was inbounded, and Homan brought this game to a magnificent finish with her stunning winning drive to the hoop.

What a finish!

What a weekend it was for Cork basketball as Saturday’s derby between Neptune and Demons was played over a record two hours and 20 minutes and this game fell five minutes short of that time! 

So why are basketball games taking so long on the first weekend of the season? There is a new digital scoresheet that’s taking some more time for operators to utilise but there is also the normal scoresheet to fill in. Plus the venue scoreboard and clock.

On this occasion, we had an enquiry at halftime about the Dublin team being short of one point and a player with the wrong foul count to its name. At this present time, spectators are getting frustrated with the number of stoppages and hopefully, for all concerned, it will be sorted sooner than later. 

BRUNELL: M Roberts, K Sexton, R Sexton, A Braham, E Peyton-Blake, L Homan, D O’Reilly, L Crean-Hickey, E Thornton, M Finnegan, A Macheta, K Walsh, R Lynch, O Dupuy, M Dunn.

DCU: M Connolly, C Mulligan, C Byrne, R Huijsdens, M Phelan, M Fubara, N Clancy, H Thornton, L Abed, B Roberts.

Referees: Jack Dooley (Portlaoise), Pelle Persson (Cork).

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