Ipswich 83 – Barking Abbey 69
Ipswich made it four wins in a row to start 2019 with a comfortable victory against Barking Abbey, and are now very much in the race for home court advantage for the playoffs.
Barking started the better of the teams, opening the game with some hot outside shooting, before Ipswich adjusted their defence and slowly took control of the game. The Suffolk based team took the first quarter by a single point, but were dominant in the second period behind some excellent defensive play. Ipswich were dominating the boards and their London opponents simply could do nothing with Harriet Welham, who collected nineteen points in the first half. Ipswich took a nine point cushion into the half time interval.
The second half saw much of the same, with Ipswich asserting themselves, without looking like they had hit top gear. Cameron Taylor-Willis looked to have taken things up a notch, the Great Britain International connected on a pair of strong drives to the basket as Ipswich extended their lead well into double figures. Youngster Susannah Rafiu also found her feet in the third quarter, the young forward dominated the paint both with her shot-blocking and rebounding as the fifteen year old helped Ipswich extend their lead to fifteen going into the game’s final stanza.
The fourth quarter was something of a formality, with Ipswich extending their lead to over twenty, allowing Coach Drane to rest some of his starters, most notably Welham, who went to the bench with seven minutes to play, with another game high thirty-three points. Elsewhere, sixteen year old Taylor-Willis put together an impressive stat line with sixteen points and nine rebounds, while Danni Cazey added eleven points and Esther Little contributed fifteen rebounds and seven assists to go with her four points. Young Rafiu gave the team eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks in just ten minutes of play as Ipswich wound up winning 83-69.
“A win is a win” said Ipswich Coach Nick Drane after the game. “We have players playing hurt all over the place, so at this stage of the season if we can get wins, and keep people fresh then that’s the perfect scenario. Becky, Charlotte, Harriet, Danni, Susannah and Cameron are all carrying something that we are having to keep a very close eye on so the first chance I get to sit them down, I will take it – to get a double digit win while being able to balance minutes is excellent and shows the depth we have developed in this squad” added Drane.
Ipswich travel to bottom of the table Birmingham next week in what is a potential banana skin. However, undefeated in 2019, Ipswich should feel in a confident mood as the race for the playoffs heats up.