Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League: Warriors stun Customs to top Phase 2

first_imgRelatedPosts Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League gets resumption date Goyeto wins Coal City international half-marathon FAAC: FG, States, LGs share February allocation Air Warriors Babes shrugged off their underdog tag to stun Nigeria Customs 80-56 to claim top spot in the second phase of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Thursday. Customs had entered into the final day of the second phase of the league at the Abuja zone as clear favourites, having led the first phase and also claiming maximum points in the second. Coach Abdulrahman Mohammed of Nigeria Customs had boasted that his experienced team was superior to the relatively unknown Air Warriors and that his players would make a light work of their opponents. However, his opposite number, Samson Sotuminu, said he had a plan going into the crucial tie and if his players stuck to the plan, they would emerge victorious. And it seemed Sotuminu’s players played to instruction from the get go, as they dominated the game throughout with solid defence and fantastic recovery rate. Captain Kasham Emanuel, Murjanati Musa and sharp-shooter Chinwe Okah were practically unplayable and ruthless in both defence and attack. Okah finished as top performer with 25 points 17 rebounds and two assists, while Musa garnered 16 points, 13 rebounds and 1 assist. Abimbola Omodeji’s highest 12 points for Customs summed up the performance of the hitherto high-flying side, who boast of experienced and well-travelled players. Air Warriors finished the second phase with maximum 14 points from seven games, while Customs were runners-up with 13 points from seven games. Sotuminu told the News Agency of Nigeria after the game that his defence made the difference against a team tagged the favourites to top the table. He said: “I watched their games and realised that if we tidied our defence we would have a chance against them. “I told my girls that they were younger and more energetic, so they should use it to their advantage. “Yes, they are more experienced and have stars, but we were more determined and more energetic. “My girls were younger, so they played as if they had nothing to lose.” Air Warriors will now go into the third phase of the league with their heads held high and a possibility of making the National Conference stage of the league for the very first time.2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Abuja Centre Phase 2 Table S/No. Team P W L GF GA GD Points 1 Air Warriors Babes 7 7 0 503 201 +302 14 2 Nigeria Customs 7 6 1 473 260 +213 13 3 Plateau Rocks 7 5 2 344 288 +56 12 4 Black Gold Queens 7 4 3 370 329 +41 11 5 FCT Wings 7 3 4 337 374 – 37 10 6 Nasarawa Amazons 7 2 5 215 440 – 225 9 7 Kanem Queens 7 1 6 210 397 – 187 8 8 Benue Princesses 7 0 7 0 140 – 140 0 Tags: Air WarriorsChinwe OkahKasham EmanuelNigeria CustomsSamson SotuminuZenith Bank Women’s Basketball Leaguelast_img read more

Panthers coach Rhule bringing energy, earning respect

first_img First Published: 18th August, 2020 09:09 IST SUBSCRIBE TO US Written By COMMENT FOLLOW US WATCH US LIVEcenter_img LIVE TV Associated Press Television News In the middle of Monday’s first padded training camp practice, first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule blew a whistle and stopped the action during a defensive line drill.Then he walked over to the blocking dummy and aggressively demonstrated the technique he was looking for from his linemen. In a flash, the intensity picked up as practice quickly resumed.“I don’t know what came over me,’’ Rhule said. “At least I didn’t get hurt. That was the positive thing.’’Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater says there isn’t a place at Panthers team headquarters where you can’t feel Rhule’s high-octane energy.Team meeting rooms. The weight room. On the practice field, it doesn’t matter.The 45-year-old Rhule is quickly establishing a culture in Carolina and players are already buying in, even though the team hasn’t played a game yet for the former Baylor coach.“It is definitely contagious,” Bridgewater said of Rhule’s energy. “He’s screaming, he’s loud, he’s running around, he’s hollering. Sometimes he talks too much,” the QB added with a laugh.”But he is a great motivator and right now he’s getting the best out of everyone.”The energy was evident in Rhule’s first two practices in front of reporters, including the squad’s first padded session.His practices move at a frantic pace with mostly rap music blaring in the background. When he doesn’t like something he sees from players he’ll stop the practice — and the music — and let them know about it. If the defense makes a mistake they’re sent to the ground for push-ups with Rhule often flopping to the ground and joining in.Rhule and his staff are heavily involved in the teaching process of what is an extremely young team in the midst of a rebuilding process. It’s not unusual to see a defensive backs coach running alongside a cornerback while in coverage and shouting instructions on how to defend the wide receiver as the play develops. The line coaches won’t hesitate to grab a jersey to demonstrate technique.The hands-on approach is not unusual for Rhule, who played linebacker at Penn State under Joe Paterno.He once donned a set of pads and a helmet and joined his players at practice while serving as head coach at Temple.“I remember looking at him, like, ‘Hey, this guy is crazy,’” said Panthers linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who played under Rhule with the Owls. “I forget which guy he was going up against, but I would say he was probably about twice Matt’s size. Matt says he didn’t care. It was like, ‘we’ve got to show you guys how to get going.’”Rhule joked that he won’t be doing that again at the NFL level.“These guys are way too fast and explosive,” Rhule said with a laugh. “Not a chance.”“The great thing about coach is he’s right down there in it with us,” Bridgewater said.If practice isn’t moving along fast enough, players and coaches will hear about it from Rhule. He’s not a stickler for long practices, saying he prefers shorter ones as long as the tempo is fast and upbeat.“If you came to our Baylor practice, it would have been 10 times faster because we weren’t in the huddle,” said Rhule, who spent the past three years coaching the Bulldogs.“Sometimes (offensive coordinator) Joe Brady kind of laughs at me because I get a little antsy. ’Get the play in and go!’ I don’t want practice to ever feel like drudgery. Let’s rock! Let’s go!”Safety Juston Burris said one of the reasons he signed with Carolina this offseason is because he heard players who played for Rhule were willing to “run through a brick wall for him.”He believes it now.“From the first week you could tell that he is a man who commands a room and commands respect,” Burris said.Bridgewater feels it every day, and loves what he sees.“We are bringing that energy and feeding off coach’s energy,” Bridgewater said. “From the time you finish that stretching period you have to turn that switch on.”In other words, Rhule expects his players to match his energy.“That’s always been the type of guy he is, and that’s why I’ve always respected him,” Whitehead said. “What he asks and requests from you is all you can give, all your energy and everything and go 100 miles (per hour) on the field. And he does the exact same thing.”Rhule is in the process of developing relationships with his players, many of whom he is still getting to know in person after an virtual offseason filled with Zoom meetings and distance learning.On Monday, he let players who have children come in late so they could be there with their kids for their first day of school, even though many in the Charlotte area are operating on remote learning because of the coronavirus.But when players are in the building, Rhule is expecting their best and hasn’t been shy about calling out players if they make a mistake in practice.And Burris said that’s just fine by him.“Hey we’ve got a bunch of guys in this group that don’t want to be coddled,” Burris said. “We want to win. We have a coach we believe in. He has a formula and we’re following behind that.”Image credits: AP Last Updated: 18th August, 2020 09:09 IST Panthers Coach Rhule Bringing Energy, Earning Respect In the middle of Monday’s first padded training camp practice, first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule blew a whistle and stopped the action during a defensive line drilllast_img read more