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Bajans lose opener

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Bajans lose opener

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It wasn’t the best of starts for the national women’s basketball team.
Forward Marlem Caceres had 16 points off the bench as the Dominican Republic led from pillar to post in yesterday’s 86-42 victory over the ultramarine and gold at their Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships’ opener in Tortola.
The result was far from unexpected, with the Bajans fielding an inexperienced unit, featuring eight first-timers, and no real post presence past rookie centre Winmarie Bowen.
But the contest was never close after the initial five minutes when Barbados hung around 11-6, with the Dominican Republic using a subsequent 2-2-1 press to force turnovers and key a 10-1 finish to the first quarter.
With Dale-Marie Cumberbatch, Toni Atherley and Bowen all forced to take difficult shots, the deficit continued to grow, especially as the turnovers and ensuing fast-break lay-ups continued to mount.
Barbados’ struggles at the free throw line didn’t help any, not when it came all too easy for the Dominican Republic on uncontested lay-ups in the paint at the other end.
The Dominican Republic led by 24 (37-13) at the half, before the Bajans put up a challenge with 16 third-quarter points on drives from Atherley and Cumberbatch.
Yet the lead still ballooned to 30 (59-29), then back-to-back treys to start the fourth stretched that advantage past 40 (81-37) until successive Atherley and Ashlee Daniel jumpers finally ended the carnage.
Melissa Santos and Yamel Abreu scored 12 points apiece for a bench unit that outscored Barbados while Cumberbatch was the lone Bajan in double digits with 18 points. Bowen and Atherley added 12 and ten rebounds respectively.
Barbados play the United States Virgin Islands today and wrap up group play tomorrow against the Bahamas. (JM)