Ipswich Basketball Senior Women 87 Loughborough Riders 66
Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women put in one of their performances of the season to beat Loughborough Riders, a team that has had the better of them twice this season, on route to a comprehensive 87-66 win at Copleston.
Loughborough had beaten Ipswich earlier in the season by just five points in league play, but the following week put an exclamation point on that win by then knocking the Suffolk side out of the National Cup at the quarter final stage in emphatic fashion, and going on the win the trophy previous held by Ipswich last month. However, Ipswich, on their home court, had reason to feel confident having won four of their previous five contests, moving them one place above the Riders in the WNBL Division One table – meaning there was a lot at stake in this game as the race for playoff seedings heats up.
Ipswich started the better of the two teams, opening up a huge fifteen points lead in the game’s opening quarter, with the home side dominating at both ends of the court. Harriet Welham and Susannah Rafiu had it going early, while Esther Little looked to be playing some of her best basketball of the season as Ipswich ran riot.
The second quarter was a much more even affair, with the Riders finding their shooting form, scoring twenty-one in the period. However, the Ipswich onslaught continued as they again won the period, taking an unexpected seventeen point advantage into the interval.
The third quarter started with three consecutive turnovers for IBC as Loughborough brought things to within fourteen points, forcing Ipswich into a quick time-out. The home side responded instantly, with Charlotte Redhead connecting on three consecutive three point shots to balloon the Ipswich lead back up to twenty point. Loughborough battled valiantly, but Ipswich didn’t let up, extending their lead to twenty four going into the game’s final stanza.
The fourth quarter was something of a formality, with the lead simply too much for Loughborough to mount any kind of realistic comeback. Although they did eat into the Ipswich lead, every time there looked like a momentum swing, Ipswich made a key play. Harriet Welham continued to score freely, finishing with a game high twenty-nine points, while Charlotte Redhead again demonstrated her red-hot shooting touch, with seven three pointers on her way to a season high twenty-three points while Esther Little was everywhere, scoring fourteen points, adding twelve rebounds and eight assists. Ipswich closed out the game winning by an impressive twenty-one points 87-66.
“Loughborough are a very talented team, with some players you can’t leave open for a second, so this was a massive win for us and I thought we got some massive performances from the girls. Last week was a horrendous result, and still could cost us later in the season, but what’s done is done, and to respond the way we have and beat a top quality team by more than twenty says a lot about the character of this group of players”.
Ipswich now hold the ‘head to head’ advantage over Loughborough and Solent meaning if they finish on the same record as those teams, they will have earned the higher playoff seeding. With just four games to play, if Ipswich can continue the form they have showed since Christmas, there is a good chance of a home seeding in the post season and a real chance that this remarkable team could continue this fascinating rise to dominance in the post season.
Welham 29, Redhead 23, Little 14.