Ipswich Basketball Club 59-56 London Lions II
Ipswich Basketball Club’s Senior Women won their second game of the season in London on Saturday as they ground out a 59-56 win against London Lions II.
Ipswich were again without NCAA D1 Columbia Commit Susannah Rafiu, who is expected to miss much of the season with an ongoing knee injury, while Alice Fallon was rested as she nurses injury, as well as young GB international Hannah Gray, who suffered a nasty elbow injury in last weeks six-point win against Thames Valley. With such a massive roster overhaul, all three young stars were expected to play a major role for the team this season, so any win for Ipswich at the moment must be seen as a key one, as the team continues to find their feet with this new look squad.
Ipswich led for almost the entire game, and while they looked comfortable at times, they had a hard time putting their opponents away – making for a tense final few minutes at Barking Abbey Sports Centre.
Ipswich were led by another captains performance from new skipper Cameron Taylor-Willis, who equalled last week’s career high of seventeen rebounds, this time to go with fourteen points, while her new frontcourt partner Yassin Belle-Mbaye made it another double-double with thirteen points and eleven boards. Belle-Mbaye wasn’t the only newcomer to again shine as guards Ava Battese (15) and Olivia Forster (12) connected on six three-point shots between them, while Saruna Gudza also made a huge late shot as the Suffolk side made twelve three-point shots in total, in a sharp shooting performance.
“We will take a win on the road any way we can right now. Physically, we look like a team that has already played a full season of basketball – but with the exception of Alice, these are not short-term injuries as so we have got to find a way to keep moving forward. I had to play the starters way more minutes than I would like to, but I thought they were outstanding and showed real character, which is a great sign when you think that we have only had the team together in the last ten days” Said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane.
Ipswich’s next game is back at Copleston where they will face the only team to win in Suffolk last season, Nottingham Trent, who also ran Ipswich close in the playoff semi-final, in what should be an entertaining game between two new look squads.