Ipswich 82-72 Solent Kestrels
WNBL Division One
Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women put together an efficient display on the road to 3rd placed Solent Kestrels, to win their eight straight game, and maintain their hold on top spot in WNBL Division One.
Solent started the game the better of the two teams, with sharp-shooting guard Cristina Karpova connecting on three straight three-pointers, to give the home side the lead through the early going. However, Ipswich are a very different team from the one that lost by just two poonts at home to the Kestrels earlier in the season, and the hot shooting from the hosts did not phase the Suffolk side, who calmly went about chipping away at the Solent lead. The score at the end of the first period was 22-17 in favour of Solent.
The second quarter saw Ipswich again chip away at the Solent advantage, quickly taking a lead in the game behind some exceptional team defence, and the scoring power of Harriet Welham – once Ipswich took the lead, they never gave it up again, taking a 41-37 advantage into the half time interval.
The third quarter was where Ipswich really made their dominance felt, winning the period 23-11, again extending their lead. Welham was again in fine form, taking thirty-one points with her into the games final quarter, but it was the teams defence that was the real story here. Anchored by eighteen year old Esther Little and seventeen year old Cameron Taylor-Willis, Ipswich recorded multiple stops that allowed the team to get out into their running game. Danni Cazey, Welham and Charlotte Redhead were all amongst the scoring as Ipswich extended their lead to 63-48 going into the fourth.
Ipswich again extended their lead to start the period, but as expected, Solent mounted a comeback, and would win the quarter by some margin. However, the lead was just too much for the home side who eventually lost out 82-72, in a game that moves Ipswich to 11-2 while Solent drop to 8-3 on the season.
“This was another excellent performance from the girls. Other than the final couple of minutes of the fourth quarter, when Solent really had to gamble and I think we lost a bit of concentration, I think this was a very efficient win” Said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane. Drane added “Solent are as good as any team in this division so to get the win and to also now hold the head-to-head advantage over them should we end up with the same record is key. Yes Harriet was again on fire, but that’s just her role on this team – we don’t win these game unless they all do their job. I thought the bench really stepped up today and in particular, with Coco in foul trouble, Charlotte really showed how far she has come and what an important player she is for this team”.
Ipswich were again led by Harriet Welham, who equalled her season high with 40 points, supported by a 14 point, 17 rebound double-double from Esther Little.
The team now have a weekend off before a double header weekend that includes Nottingham away and Barking at home. If Ipswich can secure two more wins that weekend, it will become much clearer as to whether, what seemed like an unlikely challenge for the title at the start of the season, is realistic.