Women outshine Gems, stay perfect for season

Amy Linton drives to the basket early on against Derbyshire (Image: Pavel Kricka)

Ipswich Basketball 85-66 Derbyshire Gems
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre

Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women maintained their unbeaten season with an important win on Saturday against Derbyshire Gems.

After a week filled with celebrations and emotion, due to their historic comeback victory in the National Cup Final, Ipswich could have been forgiven for starting the game slowly – which is exactly what happened. Despite Ipswich’s perfect start to the season, Derbyshire came into the game with a 5-1 record, sitting comfortably in second place in the league table, in the knowledge that a win would put them joint top of the league with the Suffolk side. So Ipswich needed to make sure they kept their concentration to pull off an important win.

Derbyshire, who can boast the services of former GB Senior International Jo Claydon, started the better of the two teams – opening up a 9-6 lead, forcing Ipswich to call a time out. And when Captain Amy Linton was withdrawn from the game due to injury, Ipswich were put under further pressure.

However, for all their talent, the most impressive things about this group of players is their character. The home side simply did not panic, adjusted and quickly erased the Derbyshire lead, opening up 25-14 advantage. The second quarter saw Ipswich further extend their lead as they opened things up – taking a 44-30 lead into the half time break.

The third quarter would have been the most entertaining for a neutral, although there wern’t too many neutrals inside Copleston. The team once again drew a large crowd, who were in good voice – assisted by the ever-expanding percussion section of the audience.

Derby had their highest scoring period of the game, tying the period 22-22. The home side certainly were not at their best, especially defensively, but their high-powered offence was enough to ensure that their opponents didn’t eat into the lead.

The fourth quarter saw normal service resumed, as Ipswich eventually wore down their opponents, winning the period by five points and taking the 85-66 victory.

“I thought we were very professional today,” said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane. “It’s been an odd week. It kind of felt like we had reached the mountain top last weekend, so we had to allow those emotions but then refocus ourselves in order to prepare for an excellent Derbyshire team.

“There is still an awful lot of basketball to be played this season, we are technically not even half way through our league season so while all of this hype and attention is great for the programme – our ultimate goal is to win the division and secure promotion to Division One, and we haven’t done that yet!”

Ipswich were led by Harriet Welham’s thirty points, while Maya Price filled the box score with twenty-one points and eighteen rebounds. Elsewhere, Ashleigh Pink flirted with a triple double with fourteen points, eleven rebounds and nine assists.

Ipswich are at home again next weekend when they host bottom of the table Nottingham Trent Wildcats at 3pm on Sunday.