Edel Thornton’s 26-point salvo saw her play a starring role for Trinity Meteors in Cork as they beat Ulster University 77-63 to book their spot in the Hula Hoops Women’s Division One National Cup final at the National Basketball Arena at the end of the month.
Thornton put in a superb second half performance, in particular, and gave a masterclass under the boards as Meteors came from behind to take a big win.
Ulster got off to the brighter star, with Kollyns Scarbrough and Lexi Posset dominating for the Belfast side.
Lauren Grigsby stepped up for Meteors and she, along with Carolyn Binder and Sarah Kenny, worked hard to reduce the deficit as scores rained in from Ulster’s Erin Maguire and Aoife Callaghan.
A big Jade Daly buzzer beating three-pointer just at half time saw Meteors reduce the gap even further and they trailed by just four at the break, 37-33.
The third quarter was a hotly contested affair and it was here where Thornton truly began to come into her own.
Anything that happened on either end of the floor, Thornton had a hand in, and she made some big plays and key assists to force some big turnovers for Ulster.
Aoife Callaghan kept the pressure on for UU though and made some big drives through to keep their scoring ticking over and they led by four going into the last to tee up a thrilling finish.
A huge fourth quarter followed and it was Thornton and Grigsby who led the way for Meteors with Thornton fighting tooth and nail under the boards, pulling down some big rebounds to keep momentum with the Dubliners.
Ulster were dealt a blow when Briana Mulhern had to leave the court through injury. With some of their key players in foul trouble, Meteors capitalised from the free throw line and kept the pressure on right until the end, winning out 77-63.
Speaking afterwards, Meteors’ Eimear Mairtin said: “We had our game cancelled last week while Ulster had a double-header so we knew over Christmas break that we haven’t had the game time that we would have hoped for.
“But we had two really good tough sessions this week and we knew rebounding was going to be a threat from Ulster.
“We had such a good team defence, that worked really hard as a unit and came up trumps!”