WNBL Division One
Ipswich Basketball 69 – Solent Kestrels 71
Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women’s Senior Women came within a whisker of becoming the first team to beat league leading Solent Kestrels on Saturday, and handing them their first defeat of the season. However, having fought back from being down by five at half time, Ipswich found themselves up by nine with just over five minutes to play, before Solent staged an impressive come back.
Ipswich had the chance to go top of the WNBL Division One table if they won, which was something nobody had expected at the start of the season, with the team playing with just eight fit players through the first five games. However, a loss would mean Solent continued their perfect start to the season, moving them to 4-0, while Ipswich would fall to 3-2.
Harriet Welham continued her fine scoring run (Photo: Nick Winter)
The game itself was a thriller, unquestionably the game of the season, with the lead changing hands constantly throughout the game. It was the battle of two very different styles. Solent are a veteran team, with seasoned and battled hardened senior players. Their physical play and rugged defence has made them very hard to beat so far this season. By contrast, Ipswich are a young, athletic and high powered offensive team that play with great pace and look to outscore their opponents by keeping the game’s tempo high. This made for a fascinating encounter. Ipswich led by one after the first, Solent led by five at half time, Ipswich clawed it back and led by one going into the fourth and Solent won in the end by just two. However, Ipswich looked to have things under control with just five minutes to play. Having kept Solent’s three best players (Velkey, Kurowski and Jackson) at bay for much of the game, Ipswich held a nine point advantage, and had the momentum. Basketball is a game where things can change quickly. Solent scrapped back, and had reduced the Ipswich lead to six with three to play, but in the final three minutes, a barrage of three-pointers from guards Jodi Jerram and Kristina Karpova, both who had been quiet up until that point, suddenly saw the visitors snatch the lead. A Cameron Taylor-Willis free-throw, a Coco Leung lay-up and a Harriet Welham three pointer were matched by Solent, who stole the lead with less than two minutes to play and the visitors held on for a huge win 71-69.
“This is a tough loss to take. I’m sure we will find things we should have done differently when we watch the film, but this is one of those games that really hurts. Our girls were phenomenal today, we had a game plan and with five minutes to play it looked like it had worked really well. You just can’t plan for those four three’s suddenly coming from nowhere, but that’s the risk you take when you plan to protect the paint the way we did. We did a great job on Jackson and Kurowski, who are a real handful inside. I have no complaints about the performance today, Solent are the team to beat right now, and it showed that we are a top team at this level” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane.
Ipswich are at home again next weekend, where they host Nottingham Trent Wildcats when they will look to keep the pressure on Anglia Ruskin and Solent at the top of the league by moving to 4-2.
Harriet Welham 27, Cameron Taylor-Willis 19 & Coco Leung 11.