D1C Semifinal: Gotham Survives Bay Area, 174-125

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MILWAUKEE, WI–’All they do is win’: those were the opening words of our Gotham preview last week and, indeed, they remain true. Gotham did stretch their three-year winning streak to 43-0 with tonight’s victory over Bay Area Derby Girls–but it was by no means the foregone conclusion many expected before the first whistle. The Golden Girls kept the score within a big jam or two’s reach throughout most of the game and ultimately handed Gotham their closest game since the 2011 WFTDA Championships, finishing the game trailing by just under 50 points at 125-174.

The night started with Nock Nock facing the unparalleled Bonnie Thunders. Nock Nock drew first blood with lead jammer and two points for an early 2-0 BAD lead. She was assessed a forearm at the termination of that jam, though, putting that lead in dire peril as Suzy Hotrod took the line unopposed in the second jam. She put 19 points on the board, taking the lead for Gotham–a lead they were never to give up.

The reigning champs went on to take the first half but it was not without its high points for the girls in gold. Murderyn Monroe demonstrated some textbook recycling in the 4th jam, pulling Claire D. Way way back, allowing a grand slam by Chantilly Mace. Lulu Lockjaw outscored Suzy Hotrod 4-3 on the next jam despite Hotrod having lead jammer status.

Ten minutes into the half, Nock Nock was gifted a power jam after a track cut by Claire D. Way. She only managed one grand slam before leaving on a track cut of her own. Claire, to her credit, got through the pack with a ludicrous spinning kick maneuver on her return, making the score 34-16 Gotham.

Bay Area was held scoreless for about 8 minutes after that, until Bricktator put up a 4-0 jam against Bonnie Thunders. Chantilly Mace followed that up by stealing a 4-3 jam from Suzy Hotrod without lead. The store stood at 57-24, Gotham, with 10 minutes left in the half.

Gotham continued running the show until BAD’s next break when Suzy Hotrod went to the box for a forearm with 7:15 remaining on the clock. Mace capitalized and put up 18 points before calling it off with Hotrod standing. Gotham’s smothering defense managed to hold Chantilly Mace on the power start, however, and Hotrod came out of the box to get lead and draw out the score 68-42, Gotham, with 4:00 remaining.

Going in to the half, Nock Nock was awarded a forearm penalty, giving Bonnie Thunders a power jam: an inauspicious development for the girls in gold. Thunders put up 23 and sent it to half time, 102-47.

As the second half got underway, it seemed to be business as usual for Gotham. Bonnie Thunders lined up against Chantilly Mace and put up a quick 4-0; Suzy Hotrod took the line next and put a 12-1 jam over Bricktator, owing to some brutally effective blocking by Sexy Slaydie.

Gotham saw a bit of a stall after that, with Bay Area holding them scoreless for the next three jams. That was enabled by track cuts by Claire D. Way and Bonnie Thunders–but came to an end with a low block by Bricktator with 22:25 remaining in the game. That brought Thunders back to the track where she scored 5 points before the end of the jam. The jam after that, Nock Nock was sent off for a for a forearm penalty, allowing 20 points by Suzy Hotrod. Gotham just about doubled Bay Area’s score at that point, making it 143-74 with 19:30 left in the game.

Claire D. Way had a power start but blew it with two penalties–first a back block, before returning to play only to almost immediately cut the track and find herself back in the box, where she ended the jam with the score 145-83. Gotham’s bench called an official review on her second penalty—-which call was upheld—-with 16:59 left on the game clock; the half had seen just 8 jams in that time.

Gotham–who have not lost a game in their previous 42 WFTDA contests, having last fallen to Rocky Mountain in 2010–did not score a point for the next ten minutes and change.

There were more than a few Bay Area highlights in that time. In the tenth jam of the half, a Bay Area pack consisting of Demanda Riot, Dolly Rocket, Kristi YamaGotcha and belle RIGHT hooks held Bonnie Thunders in the pack long enough for Bricktator to put up a natural grand slam and two more on top. With 12:43 remaining, the Gotham bench called a time out to regroup. With just under 11 minutes to play, Bonnie Thunders went off for a forearm, enabling a hard-fought grand slam by Bricktator against a stifling Gotham defense.

With 7:15 left on the game clock, Lulu Lockjaw was sent off for a back block, but Suzy Hotrod followed her just fifteen seconds later for a cut track. That jam ran the full two minutes after the jammer swap and ended with just 6:00 left on the lock and a score of 150-121, Gotham. The keepers of the Hydra recovered well and held Bay Area scoreless until the final jam.

As the final jam started, Bay Area trailed by just 40 points, a wide but not insurmountable deficit. Unfortunately for the underdog, Nock Nock was assessed a cut track and all the energy was drained from the crowd instantaneously. No lead was awarded, so the jam ran the full two minutes, but it was too late for Bay Area to recover. Gotham took the win 174-125 and will face Texas on Sunday for the Hydra.

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