Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women started 2018 in style with a massive 166-51 win against Northamptonshire Titans. Northampton, who sit in mid-table in NBL Division Two, didn’t know what hit them as Ipswich came flying out of the gate and never looked back. The Ipswich offence looked like a well-oiled machine, with all twelve players getting on the score sheet and multiple players putting up stat-lines only usually seen in video games.
Ipswich scored a phenomenal 40 points in the first quarter, opening up a twenty-four-point lead in just ten minutes of play, and led 40-16 after the first period. They then scored a quite absurd 55 points in the second quarter, taking their lead to 95-30. It seemed like Ipswich scored literally every time they had the ball, and with their suffocating defence in full effect, the team created turnover after turnover, meaning there was a relentless assault on the Northamptonshire basket for almost the entire first half.
In the second half things didn’t get much better for the visitors, who, to their credit, continued to battle and fight on every possession. The Ipswich onslaught at both ends of the court swelled the lead to 125-40. And Ipswich simply didn’t let up.
As Coach Nick Drane rotated his squad it didn’t seem to matter who was on the court, or what combination of players were playing, suffocating defence and ruthless offence was the order of the day.
The fourth period was much of the same. Ipswich handed extended playing time to several of the team’s younger players as Nicole Aston, Ella Pearson and Cameron Taylor-Willis, who are all just fifteen years old, played minutes and recorded baskets as the lead continued to grow.
“It was good to get 2018 started with such a strong performance,” said captain Amy Linton. “We are trying to do something unheard of this season, and in order to do that we have to play hard every game, no matter the circumstances, with a bit of a chip on our shoulder.”
Ipswich are sitting top of NBL Division Two with a 5-0 record, but are 9-0 in all competitions on account of their remarkable cup run that has included three away wins to teams from the division above. They have made it all the way to the Cup Final, where they face Division One table toppers Essex Blades at the University of East London on Sunday 21st January.
“We were playing well before Christmas but you never know what that two-week break can do for your rhythm, so to play so well, and shoot the ball so well in particular, was pleasing,” said Drane.
Ipswich were led by 41 points from Dannielle Cazey, while Harriet Welham added 35 and Maya Price 32. Elsewhere, the stats sheet was stuffed by Ashleigh Pink (six points, 17 assists and 15 rebounds) and Esther Little (18 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists and eight steals) while Jessica Baker also had the hot hand, connecting on five long range efforts for her 15 points.
Ipswich are at home again next week when they face a Worcester Wolves team who are eager to avenge a twenty-one-point loss to the Suffolk side on the opening game of the season.
Ipswich face Essex Blades on Sunday 21st January in the National Cup Final, in one of the biggest games in the club’s history. For tickets visit www.basketballengland.co.uk.