The Senior Women travelled to title chasing Anglia Ruskin for their final road trip of the regular season, and nearly pulled off an upset win as they matched the league leaders basket for basket until the games fine six minutes in Cambridge on Saturday.
With a home seed in the post season almost certainly an impossibility, Ipswich played with a freedom and a weight off their shoulders, which saw the Suffolk side looking loose and relaxed in the game’s opening exchanges. Great Britain international Esther Little was in an aggressive mood, scorning the first seven points for the visitors as the applied pressure to the reigning WNBL Division One champions. However, ARU are a battled tested, experienced team and weathered the early Ipswich storm and tied things up at the end of the first period 23-23.
The second quarter saw much of the same, with the two teams trading baskets. Harriet Welham connected on a pair on long range efforts and Susannah Rafiu was dominating at the defensive end for Ipswich as Ipswich stayed within touching distance for Ipswich. At the half ARU held a slender two point lead.
The third quarter saw Ipswich gain the momentum, but only very slightly. They opened up a five point advantage before the Cambridge side again pegged them back. Ipswich took a two point lead into the final stanza.
The final quarter saw ARU simply catch fire. While Ipswich continued to score at a consistent rate, the floodgates opened at the other end as Ruskin connected on five consecutive three-pointers. In a three-minute phase of play, ARU went on a 19-2 scoring run to effectively end Ipswich chances of an upset victory and confirm that Ipswich will be an away seed in the playoffs in the first round next month, while the home side are still very much in the mix to take the number one seed.
“It’s an odd time of the season. We know we are in the playoffs, which given our injuries this season, is a great achievement and a goal we set ourselves in preseason now achieved. But, we don’t yet know what seed we will be. With one game to go we still can finish fifth, sixth or seventh and for us right now, getting back to full fitness and getting back to playing our best basketball is the priority over who we match up with – we know when healthy and playing well, we can beat anybody”. Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane
Esther Little 23, Harriet Welham 20 & Ella Pearson 7.