Ipswich Basketball 55-67 Nottingham Trent University
WNBL Division 1
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich slipped to just their second defeat of the WNBL season at the weekend as an outstanding first half from visitors Nottingham Trent University paved the way for an upset victory.
After Ipswich had started the game strongly, taking a 10-2 lead on three-pointers from Harriet Welham, Danielle Cazey and Cameron Taylor-Willis, NTU then put together an outstanding ten minutes of basketball behind the inside presence of Naomi Campbell and American import Schekinah Bimpa, in her third appearance of the campaign.
20 from Welham wasn't enough to overcome Nottingham Trent (Photo: Pavel Kricka)
The visitors would lead by as many as 17 points midway through the second quarter, but Ipswich did manage to stop the bleeding before half time, Harriet Welham scoring seven of her team-high 20 points in the final five minutes of the half as Ipswich closed the gap to seven points at 39-32.
The second half was a much more even affair, but NTU had an answer for every Ipswich run and Bimpa’s efficient inside scoring paced the visitors well. Abbie Whitehouse also impressed off the bench, the Great Britain international finishing with 12 points.
Ipswich got within five with six minutes left to play, but Bimpa and Ines Guerreiro then combined for 11 unanswered points for NTU to secure the victory.
Coach Nick Drane's side have averaged 88 points per game since Christmas, but an uncharacteristic offensive showing saw the home side shoot a lowly 15% from three-point range. Welham finished with 20 points and Esther Little added 13, but no other player reached double-figures.
"Definitely a tough day offensively for us," said Coach Drane after the defeat. "All credit goes to NTU today though. They came out swinging early and Bimpa was really impressive. I can see that team causing everyone in the division some problems the rest of the way.
"We'll get to work in training this week and try to right some of what went wrong today before another tough game next week."
Ipswich’s record is now 10-2 for the season, while NTU, who have struggled for consistency and battled through injuries, improved to 5-6.
Elsewhere in WNBL Division 1, CoLA-Southwark Pride defeated Team Solent Kestrels in Southampton to improve to a 6-3 record, keeping the London squad one game adrift of Ipswich in the loss column. Meanwhile, there were wins for Reading Rockets and Barking Abbey, who secured their first two victories of the season this weekend.
One of those wins for Barking came in a tight 70-67 victory over Thames Valley Cavaliers, who visit Ipswich on Easter Saturday for the Suffolk side’s next contest.