Ipswich Basketball Senior Women 86 – Anglia Ruskin University 80
An absolutely incredible third quarter saw Ipswich pull off a crucial win against the current WNBL Division One league leaders, and reigning back-to-back D1 Playoff champions, moving the Suffolk side even on points, with seven games to play in the top tier of women’s National League basketball on Saturday.
The hosts, who scored only nine points in the first quarter, were training 43-32 at half time, and looked to be up against it, playing a team that are the overwhelming favourites to win the league this season. However, in true Ipswich fashion, there was a dramatic twist, that saw a 36-16 third quarter run, with the play of the team electrifying the biggest and loudest crowd Copleston has seen in a long time. The offensive onslaught saw the entire team firing on all cylinders, led as ever, by another inspired showing from the league’s leading scorer, Harriet Welham. But, it was the team’s defence that sparked this offensive explosion, limiting ARU to shots they don’t usually take, and holding their leading scorer and best player, American star Madeline Homoly, to just two points in the period. Ipswich had completely turned the game on it’s head, and took a 68 – 59 lead into the game’s final period.
The final quarter saw Anglia Ruskin show why they are back-to-back WNBL playoff champions, pegging back the Ipswich advantage, bringing the lead back to just a single point with two minutes to play. However, behind some huge plays by Danni Cazey and Coco Leung, Ipswich were able to hold off any lead changes. In the game’s final minute, with the score still in the balance, three pointers from Welham and Cameron Taylor-Willis sealed a six point win for Ipswich that moves them to a 9-2 record on the season, the same as their opponents, as the Suffolk ladies now share top spot – which when you consider that Ipswich are still yet to play a game with more than eight healthy players, and have not once put a full strength roster on the court, is incredible.
“This is up there with the biggest wins we’ve had as a team. For the second home game in a row, we have battled back from a double figure deficit at half time, to bring home a huge win. The next step is to stop going down by so many in the first half” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane. Drane added “The character in this team is something else. But we need to move forward now and get ready for a vastly improved Thames Valley team”.
Ipswich captain Harriet Welham added “The crowd was immense today, they really lifted us when we needed them. There really is no place like home”.
Ipswich are again at home next weekend when they host Thames Valley Cavaliers. A win will see them move clear at the top of WNBL Division One while ARU concentrate on their National Cup semi-final in Bristol.
Harriet Welham 36, Coco Leung 17 and Cameron Taylor-Willis 16.