WNBL Division One
Ipswich Basketball 84 Southwark Pride 73
Ipswich won what was a very physical and tough battle between two excellent young teams at Copleston on Saturday.
Southwark arrived with a deep and talented roster and showed from start to finish, why they are always one of the toughest teams in the country, whether its junior national league, academy or senior level.
Ipswich held the lead for almost the entire game, extending their advantage in the third quarter to eighteen points, but much like Ipswich, Southwark are notorious for their spirit and refusal to quit. The win see’s Ipswich move to 2-0 on the season, a season in which, so far, they have only been able to use eight players due to injury. However, Head Coach Nick Drane is very quick to point out that this season is about who is playing and not who isn’t “We are not making any excuses. If we have eight fit players, then we go to war with those eight. If we have seven or six, it will be the same philosophy. We want to win every game and the best way to do that is to have a mentality that we are just getting after it every time we step on the court”.
Ipswich were led, by an outstanding performance from Captain Harriet Welham. Welham recorded a league season high thirty-seven points, including twenty four in the second half. However, it was a team effort with multiple players playing key roles. Becky Harwood-Bellis again impressed as a starter, while youngsters Ella Pearson and Charlotte Redhead came off the bench and made key defensive plays, especially in the third quarter run that helped Ipswich gain a double figure advantage. Coco Leung continued her impressive start to the season with eleven points to go with six boards and five assists while Danni Cazey made key plays down the stretch to secure the win. The combination of Cameron Taylor-Willis and Susannah Rafiu battled foul trouble for much of the game, however, both were dominant inside and out with the fifteen year old Rafiu demonstrating the addition of a three point shot to her already impressive skill set, connecting on two for three from beyond the arc.
“Its another good win to start the season. We now move on to play the National Champions at their place. Anglia Ruskin are back-to-back D1 Playoff Champions and are one of the favourites to win it again this season – so there is no time to celebrate, we’ve got to get ready and go again” Said Drane.
Harriet Welham 37, Cameron Taylor-Willis 12 & Coco Leung 11