Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women showed off all their considerable qualities this weekend during their back-to-back games in the Midlands.
On Saturday the team faced the experienced Mansfield Giants in their second league game of the season. After a slow start, the Suffolk side adjusted to the considerable size advantage held by their opponents and blew the lead wide open with a combination of fast paced transition basketball and the long distance of shooting guard Harriet Welham.
Welham connected on an absurd seven three pointers and racked up thirty points in the first half as Ipswich made a very definite effort to feed the hot hand. Up 46-30 at the half it wasn’t only Welham doing damage as Maya Price was dominating inside and Danni Cazey and Amy Linton caused constant problems for their opponents.
In the second half the Giants simply couldn’t keep up with the Ipswich pace. Ines Bowman-Boyles stepped up again for Ipswich while Esther Little show off her considerable all-round ability, contributing all over the court. Jasmine Tebbit came in off the bench and gave the team quality minutes, while young Ella Pearson showed that she was ready for senior level basketball.
Ipswich rounded off a huge victory, able to rest starting guard Ashleigh Pink as they ran out winning 91-47.
“Mansfield provided us with a real test and insight into senior level basketball. They are a good team with some really smart, experienced players. That being said, I thought we did a good job of weathering the early troubles and playing some great basketball” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane.
Welham would finish with a season high thirty-eight points, while Price added eight points, twelve rebounds and seven blocks. Cazey filled up the stat sheet with eleven points, eight rebounds and five assists. Elsewhere, sixteen year old Little recorded the team’s first triple-double of the season with thirteen points, ten rebounds and ten assists.
Ipswich are currently top of WNBL Division Two North with a 2-0 start and a basket difference of +65.
On Sunday the team played game two of their long weekend, on the road in the National Cup to Division One side Loughborough Riders.
Having won their first three competitive games by an average margin of over thirty-five points per game, the Ipswich team knew that the test of a team from the division above, on the road on day to of a double-header, was going to be a very different challenge.
The game was a great advert for women’s basketball with neither team holding a double digit lead until the fourth quarter. Unlike Saturday, when it was Welham carrying much of the scoring load, this time it was a balanced offensive attack and some exceptional team defence that led to Ipswich recording an important victory.
Loughborough held a 20-14 lead after the first period, but Ipswich managed to reduce it to just two points at the half 35-33. However, in the third, as both teams began to tire, Ipswich’s character began to shine through, as they turned that two point deficit into a two point lead of their own.
The fourth quarter was all about the visitors. Ipswich put together the perfect quarter, combining multiple defensive stops with key plays on the offensive end. Three-pointers from Pink, Linton, Little and Welham saw the lead quickly jump to twelve, with Price taking the game over at the defensive end. Ipswich continued to extend the lead as the game drew to a close, holding Loughborough to just seventeen points in the second half, eventually extending the lead to a resounding 52-69 as the buzzer sounded.
“This was an outstanding result. I doubt we will play better basketball than we did today in the fourth quarter,” Drane said.
“Whether it’s Loughborough or Charnwood, they are all part of the wider Leicester Riders programme, and they are one of the biggest and best funded programme’s in the country – to go there with a group of girls who have all been with Ipswich Basketball Club since they started playing, and come away with not only a win, but a win while playing so well, on the road, on day two of a back-to-back, says a lot about the character of these girls and the quality of the Ipswich Basketball Club and Academy pathway.
“I am absolutely loving coaching this team”.
Ipswich were led by dynamic guard Ashleigh Pink, who went for twenty points and six assists. Esther Little was again key to the victory collecting seventeen points while Welham was again amongst the high scorers with sixteen of her own. Maya Price grabbed a season high nineteen rebounds, with four more blocks to go with them.
The Suffolk side are now into the quarter-final of the National Cup, where they will again be on the road to a Division One side – this time Reading Rockets.
Ipswich have a weekend off before they host Mansfield on the 11th November in a double header with the Ipswich Men’s team that will be sure to draw a huge crowd at Copleston.