Abby Lowe and the Newcastle Eagles have been on a magical run in the playoffs off the back of a challenging campaign. This is her story, in her own words..
It’s taken a while to sink in, but I think it has now. We’re going to be playing in the playoffs final on Sunday.
The team as a whole has never been so close together, and we are just so honoured and proud to be in the final together. The support from within the team, the coaching staff, volunteers and everyone who has been sending their love has been wonderful.
It’s the fact that we’ve been the underdogs, we have no pressure, just happy to be here. We promised each other we would go out, enjoy the games and that has worked for us. We have no reason to lack in confidence and feel like we could take on anything right now.
For me personally, I’ve found enjoyment again in basketball and that has brought confidence to my game. It shows what being in a community that puts your mental health and your well-being first can do. This is something that Chris prioritises and the way this team operates. That environment has been such a game-changer for me. I feel trusted by my team-mates and Chris has done an incredible job in bringing my confidence back.
The 26 points and seven steals against Leicester was probably one of my better performances for a while. I have to think back to when I was maybe 15/16 for that type of game, so hopefully it can continue to go in that direction. I know I play well when I have a smile on my face and if I’m not having fun, then what’s the point?
That feeling right there, that’s why I play! https://t.co/cBfS66ZfQP
— Abby Lowe (@abbylowz) May 1, 2021
As for the semi finals, we came out a little reserved and nervous in the first, but after a spark three by Ali to end the half and a good locker room chat we relaxed, and started to enjoy ourselves. That is what we needed to come out on top.
I’m just so proud of my team. Beating Sevenoaks was huge. They have so much experience and it can be a little intimidating with the players that they have. But we just wanted to focus on ourselves and what we do. Nobody expected it to happen, so just being able to prove that point was extra special – what an achievement.
Sometimes things just fall into place at the right time. Overcoming adversity all season has brought us closer as a group. We had Marina fall and tear her achilles in the first game – that was a horrible shock and we’re looking forward to having her back next season. We had players leaving mid-season and dealing with COVID issues.
Rachael has been dealing with injuries and leading from the sidelines, and it was a good time for her to show back up on the court. Deborah was a key piece for us, too, when she joined mid-season. One game, I did the jump-ball at the start which is just ridiculous because I should never be the tallest player on the court.
There’s been so many ups and downs. But, there has been one constant throughout: Ali – our MVP. She just leads by example all the time and Maddy is right up there, too. We’ve had players stepping up fearless. Millie Oates has stepped up. Ori as well, and we’re glad to be getting her back for the final.
Chris has done a phenomenal job in keeping us together throughout the season. After Mante and Lisa left, we just wanted to take things one game at a time. The playoffs were always a goal for us – of course there were a few doubts early on, but now we’re here, we want to make the most of it.
And, I won’t be taking it easy in the final. Sorry, Mark.
I am so grateful for my time at Barking Abbey’s academy, though, and my two years there played a huge part in my development. Mark is so tough on players, really pushes them to be the best they can be, he definitely did that for me. We need more academies stepping up, developing players from younger ages and pushing the league to a higher level.
It would mean the world to me if we win on Sunday. The team really worked hard for this, Chris really deserves this. We have been battling behind the scenes for woman’s equality in sports, and winning this Championship for me is also proving we are worthy, as a team, to be taken seriously.
It’s going to take the exact same thing from us. We will need to show up as a team, trust each other and have fun.
Don’t sleep on us.
Watch Abby and the Eagles in action in Sunday’s WBBL playoffs final, HERE.
Brad has been a writer for Hoopsfix since 2014 and has also had freelance roles at the BBL and with FIBA – working at two Women’s EuroBasket tournaments. Contact: [email protected]