Ipswich Basketball 90-56 BA London Lions
WNBL Division I
Copleston Sports Centre
IPSWICH continued their winning start to 2021 with a hard-earned victory over visiting BA London Lions on Saturday in a much closer contest than had been anticipated.
Coming into the weekend winless in WNBL Division I and losing games by an average of 32 points per game, the Lions’ much-changed roster produced a determined first-half performance led by GB international Tamara Fournillier-Onadeko to stay within ten points of league leaders Ipswich by half time.
The hosts, down to the bare bones of their squad following last weekend’s season-ending injury to Colleen Leung, looked disjointed on offense early on and struggled to connect from three-point range before the break.
The game remained close in the third quarter when, after Ipswich captain Harriet Welham received no call for a hard foul in transition, Ipswich head coach Nick Drane was ejected for protesting the decision, after two technical fouls.
The added adversity only served to light a fire under the Ipswich squad, however, with Welham scoring 12 points in the next five minutes as the hosts broke the game open. Danni Cazey then put the game beyond the Lions’ reach with 15 points in the fourth quarter.
With Ipswich currently down to five players – Welham, Cazey, Esther Little, Cameron Taylor-Willis and Ella Pearson – with a full season’s experience at senior NBL level, it was little surprise that that group all surpassed the 30-minute mark. Welham finished with a 29-point triple-double, Cazey racked up 27 points, while Little posted 22 rebounds and Taylor-Willis finished with a double-double.
There were, however, more promising contributions from Ipswich’s young bench, with Alice Fallon returning to the side to provide nine points off the bench and Hannah Gray performing well for the second game in succession.
The win cements Ipswich’s position atop WNBL Division I, with the weekend’s only other game seeing contenders Nottingham Trent University losing on the road to Thames Valley Cavaliers. The Cavaliers, who have now won two in a row, will face Ipswich twice over the next two weeks, with this weekend’s fixture being played in Uxbridge.