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Ulster University will return next year even stronger, says coach Patrick O’Neill

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Top scorer: Lexi Possett starred again for UU with 15 points against Mystics

Top scorer: Lexi Possett starred again for UU with 15 points against Mystics

Top scorer: Lexi Possett starred again for UU with 15 points against Mystics

Ulster University’s hopes of playing in the women’s All Ireland Superleague were crushed yesterday when they lost 76-57 to NUIG Mystics in the Division One play-offs final in the National Basketball Arena.

Coach Patrick O’Neill admitted that the Mystics, who completed a League and Cup double, were simply too good from the opening buzzer as they found that little bit extra even when UU put them under pressure.

But O’Neill is confident that his relatively young side have proven they can return next season and push hard for promotion into the Superleague. American Lexi Posset top scored for UU with 15 points, while Alex Mulligan and Abigail Rafferty hit 11 each. Hazel Finn was the top scorer for the Mystics on 15.

“Over the past three years we’ve done a good job finishing in the top four and all that experience will stand to us going into next season. I believe we can find ourselves in this position again and come out on the right side of the result,” said O’Neill.

“The team fought hard but I have to admit that on the day the Mystics were the better team. We were always playing from behind after a nervous start and just couldn’t close that gap.

“We just couldn’t get into our rhythm, the kind of way we’ve been playing all season. I guess the Mystics deserve credit for that because any time we got on a bit of a run they stopped us in our tracks.”

Possett, as she has all year, offered plenty of inspiration offensively and defensively Ciara White caught the eye for UU.

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Mulligan and Rafferty also came up with some crucial baskets but overall UU didn’t take their chances and simply could not get their noses in front.

“Unfortunately Ciara White fouled out in the fourth quarter and that hurt us because she had done a great job. But we’ll all learn from this and come back stronger.”

UU still have a League Cup semi-final to look forward to.


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