Loughborough Riders 41 – Ipswich Basketball Club 74
Ipswich travelled to Loughborough with the daunting task of facing the National Cup holders with a decimated squad, after starters Becky Harwood-Bellis and Cameron Taylor-Willis joined GB International Esther Little on the teams ever growing, high-calibre, injury list.
Ipswich started the game well, with Danni Cazey connecting on consecutive three point shots, to give the visitors an early cushion, an early cushion that quickly became a steady lead, which Ipswich managed to build upon throughout the first half. With all six players enjoying balanced court-time, Ipswich looked in total control, avoiding foul trouble, allowing the team to build momentum and grow a twenty-one point lead going into half time. Ipswich were being led by league leading scorer, Harriet Welham, who was well supported with a balanced contribution from the rest of the teams shortened roster.
The third quarter saw Ipswich take their foot off the gas slightly, and although Loughborough didn’t make any headway into the Suffolk side’s lead, Ipswich had clearly set themselves onto cruise control, protecting their lead without over exerting themselves. By the end of the third the scoreboard read Ipswich 53 Loughborough 32.
The fourth quarter saw Ipswich show their ruthless streak. Instead of sitting on their lead, they decided to up their game again, extending their lead to beyond thirty points as the six players from Ipswich stomped their way to a 74-41 victory.
“The is a brilliant result” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane. “Loughborough have a lost a lot of their top-end talent, but the group they have are still not to be underestimated. Whether they are playing as Loughborough, Leicester or Charnwood, they are all from the same programme – a programme that are the undefeated National Academy Champions, and a team that knocked us out of last season’s national cup on their way to winning the competition. Had we won by single digits today, everyone would be saying how great of a result it was. The score line suggests an easy win, but we were super disciplined and efficient in the first half and that set the tone”.
Ipswich have next weekend off before they host Reading Rockets in a double header to finish the year. On the Saturday they double-head with the men and on the Sunday they host the Rockets again in the National Cup quarter final.