Worcester Wolves 63-75 Ipswich Basketball
WNBL Division I
University of Worcester Arena
Ipswich Basketball extended their winning run to five games to open the Women’s National Basketball League season, defeating Worcester Wolves in another away game this weekend.
Despite being in their first season in WNBL1, Worcester came into the game also undefeated and with some impressive results having beaten Loughborough Riders and Bristol Flyers this season.
The table-topping battle ensured one team would lose that perfect record, and the hosts made the stronger start in protecting theirs, jumping out to an early 11-6 lead and hitting four of their first six three-point attempts.
Ipswich managed to hang around in the first quarter despite a slow offensive quarter, and trailed 14-11 after one. They never allowed the Wolves to build a comfortable advantage, however, and behind some stifling defence in the second quarter, Ipswich would take the lead at 28-27 with three minutes remaining in the half. Harriet Welham and Danni Cazey combined for eight unanswered points to take the Suffolk side into a 34-27 half-time lead.
Colleen Leung made her first appearance of the season for the away side (Photo: Nick Winter)
Colleen Leung’s first appearance of the season produced a promising showing, and the American guard was able to get onto the scoresheet in the third quarter with a creative lay-up eluding two defenders in the process.
Having lost the lead, Worcester continued to employ the full-court pressing defence that had produced results early on, but by the third quarter the signs were there that Ipswich had found a counter. Welham scored another 10 points in the third quarter as Ipswich built a double-digit lead.
Ipswich would go on to build their lead to as many as 21 late in the second quarter before a mini-rally by the hosts reduced the arrears to a respectable 12 by the final buzzer.
Welham led Ipswich in scoring once again, with 22 points along with seven rebounds, as well as taking the lead in restricting Worcester guard Carolina Marques, who had been averaging over 20 points a game this season, to just six. Cazey and Ella Pearson scored 16 and 15 points respectively, and Cameron Taylor-Willis threatened a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
“This was a decent win for us,” said Ipswich head coach Nick Drane. “Worcester have made a good start to the season and we didn’t want to underestimate them.
“We couldn’t buy a basket from the three-point line today but we got the job done with our best defensive performance of the season.
“We seem to have different players stepping up each week which is great. Through five games we’ve now had seven different players score at least 15 points in a game, which at this level says a lot about the depth we have in this squad.”
After touring England for the first five weeks of the season, Ipswich are treated to the reward of a home fixture this Sunday against Solent Kestrels (3-2), meaning they will play at Copleston for the first time since the preseason win over Essex Rebels on 17th October.