WNBL Division One
Anglia Ruskin 74 - Ipswich 67
Ipswich fell to their second defeat of the WNBL Division One season on the road to Anglia Ruskin on Saturday. The Suffolk side knew that a win would see them enter the Christmas break on the same 6-1 record as the previous season, a season that ended in historic fashion. But with wholesale changes in the offseason, combined with in injury list that saw key rotation players and starters out for extended periods of time – Ipswich entered the season as something of an unknown quantity.
The game itself was a physical and scrappy one, with Ipswich leading for much of the first half before ARU went on a late run to take a five point lead into the interval. The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams going on runs that would make for an entertaining game. Ipswich clawed the ARU lead back to tie the game within a minute of the second half starting, before the hosts went on a run that gave them a seven point lead. Another run by Ipswich saw another momentum swing, as the visitors tied things up with just five seconds on the clock, but a three point shot from inside her own half by Ruskin’s outstanding guard Tereza Zatkova, gave the hosts a boost as the game entered its final stanza.
The fourth quarter was hanging in the balance for much of the game, until league MVP candidate Katrin Hulme connected from distance for the home side, following a series of offensive rebounds, to give the Cambridge based outfit a five point advantage with less than a minute to play. Ipswich battled valiantly, but ultimately came up short, going down 74-67.
“I think we played well in phases today, but ARU are a very good team – that have won the playoffs and National Cup in recent seasons, so they are experienced and well equipped to play in pressure situations” Said Ipswich Head Coach Nick Drane. Drane added “The girls have been brilliant in the first half of the season – to be 5-2 and in second place in the league after everything we have been through is fantastic and it’s given us a great foundation to build on going into the second half of the season. There is everything to play for and while it looks like CoLA are out on their own, every other team can beat anyone on their day which makes for a great second half of the season”.
Ipswich’s 5-2 record is the same as ARU, Loughborough and Thames Valley meaning teams are tied from 2nd to fifth in the league table – however, basket difference see’s Ipswich in second place as things stand.
Cameron Taylor-Willis: 15
Liv Forster: 12
Ava Battese: 12